University of Oulu

Laatikainen, O., Miettunen, J., Sneck, S. et al. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (2017) 73: 1539.

The prevalence of medication-related adverse events in inpatients : a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Author: Laatikainen, Outi1,2; Miettunen, J.2,3; Sneck, S.4;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Biomedicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Administration Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
5Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea), Helsinki, Finland
6Department of Oncology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-10-24


Purpose: Adverse drug events (ADEs) have been internationally recognized as a major threat to patient safety. The purpose of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis focusing on inpatient ADEs in the Western World to provide better estimate of the current state of medication safety in these countries.

Methods: The studies for meta-analysis were identified through electronic search in Cochrane, Scopus, Medline, and Web of science databases. Included articles focused on adult inpatient ADEs, had commonly accepted definition for ADE, and were conducted between 2000 and 2016. Disease or ADE-specific studies were excluded. Meta-analysis was conducted on the prevalence of inpatient ADEs and fatal adverse drug reactions (FADRs).

Results: The pooled estimate of the prevalence of inpatient ADEs was formed by 46,626 patient records included in 9 articles. Inpatient ADE prevalence was 19 and 32.3% of these ADEs were assessed preventable (MD 28.6%, SD 22.6%). Three articles including 3385 patients focused on inpatient FADRs, but the pooled estimate of this was disregarded due to low number and high heterogeneity of the included studies.

Conclusions: ADEs are estimated to affect 19% of inpatients during hospitalization. Most of the ADEs are moderate in severity causing no permanent harm to the patient. Only a small amount of ADEs cause inpatient deaths, but in this meta-analysis, however, we were unable to give direct estimate of the prevalence.

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Series: European journal of clinical pharmacology
ISSN: 0031-6970
ISSN-E: 1432-1041
ISSN-L: 0031-6970
Volume: 73
Issue: 12
Pages: 1539 - 1549
DOI: 10.1007/s00228-017-2330-3
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
317 Pharmacy
319 Forensic science and other medical sciences
Copyright information: © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The final authenticated version is available online at: