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Side effect of pharmaceuticals behind several fatalities

Adverse drug reactions (ADR) might annually contribute to as many as three of one hundred deaths in Sweden. This is indicated by recent pharmacoepidemiological research at LiU. Findings are presented in a doctoral thesis by doctoral student Anna K. Jönsson.

Prescribed drugs are the most common treatment within the Swedish health care sector. Drugs usually do what they are intended to do, but unwanted and endangering peripheral side effects can occur, causing adverse, even toxic, reactions.

Anna K. Jönsson, describes her clinical pharmacology research in a thesis that links the emergence and pathology of pharmaceutical-related disease and mortality. Among 1 574 deaths in southeast Sweden during 2001, randomly selected from the national Cause of Death Register, she found that 3.1 percent of the deaths might have been due to legal-drug-related side effects.

Among individuals who died in hospitals, the incidence was 6.4 percent.

Hemorrhages accounted for nearly two-thirds of the suspected side effects. Half of these implicated the anticoagulant warfarin (the potent substance in Waran). Fatal intoxication was the cause in 0.6 percent of the deaths. Medico-legal autopsies indicate that such deaths often involve drug-drug interactions involving a combination of substances, for instance, pain relievers, antidepressants and antipsychotic medication.


Page manager: therese.winder@liu.se
Last updated: 2009-06-03