Research Article

Pharmacy World & Science

, 30:854

First online:

Adverse-drug-reaction related admissions to a hospital in Scotland

  • Yvonne HopfAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacy, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
  • , Margaret WatsonAffiliated withDepartment of General Practice and Primary Care, University of Aberdeen
  • , David WilliamsAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Pharmacology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Email author 

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Aims To apply established methods to identify ADR-related admissions and to determine the proportion which was preventable and which were caused by non-prescription medicines (NPMs). Methods This prospective, observational study screened all acute hospital admissions (n = 1,101) by ward pharmacists over a 2-week period. Suspected ADR-related admissions were reported to the researcher and established criteria were used to evaluate probability, causality and preventability of the ADR-related admissions. Results Of the 1,101 emergency admissions which occurred during the study period, 30 were categorised as ADR-related, equating to a prevalence of 2.7% (95% CI, 1.8–3.7%). Three (9.7%) of the 30 admissions were associated with NPMs. The ADR was the dominant reason for admission in 56.7% (n = 17/30) and only 13.3% (n = 4/30) of all reported admissions were assessed as unavoidable. Conclusion The proportion of ADR-related admissions was lower than in previous studies in the UK. A substantial proportion of ADRs was associated with NPMs, highlighting the need for greater awareness amongst patients, prescribers and other health care professionals regarding possible serious adverse effects caused by these medicines.


Adverse drug reaction Hospital admission Non-prescription drug OTC medicines Prescription medicines Scotland