Be safe image

An adverse drug event (ADE) is “an injury resulting from the use of a drug.” Under this definition, the term adverse drug event includes harm caused by the drug (adverse drug reactions and overdoses) and harm from the use of the drug. ADE’s may result from medication errors, but most do not. Polypharmacy (taking more medications than necessary) is the strongest risk factor for ADEs. Elderly patients, who take more medications and are most vulnerable to an adverse drug event.

There are several high-risk medications that can lead to an ADE. The classes of medications that we need to be aware of when it comes to ADE’s include anticoagulants, opioids, safe combination image

High-risk or high-alert medications can cause significant patient harm if used in error. These include medications that have dangerous adverse effects, often have a narrow therapeutic index and typically require lab monitoring. ​Also, look-alike and sound-alike medications or those that have similar names and physical appearance, but have completely different pharmaceutical properties, pose a risk.

Data for ND and SD communities appears to be trending upwards greater than the national average among all other QIN QIO communities for opioid ADE hospitalizations and deaths. In nursing homes, all high-risk medication classes are rising for adverse drug events that lead to hospitalizations.

Be Safe Documents: 

Whether you’re taking medication or supporting someone who is, understanding what leads to an adverse drug event is crucial for safer healthcare.


Listen to our Podcast: Q-Tips For Your Ears!Q Tips For Your Ears Podcast Logo

What Are Adverse Drug Events?: Adverse drug events happen every day and can occur with anyone who is taking a medicine. What is an adverse drug event, how does it happen and what can I do to help reduce the risk? Take a few minutes to listen and learn more.

The Truth About Opioids: Opioids are medications prescribed by providers to treat persistent or severe pain. More than two million Americans misuse opioids and more than 90 Americans die every day from opioid overdose. Who is impacted and what can you or your community do to help reduce opioid misuse? Take a few minutes to listen and learn more.

Diabetes – The Path to Understanding Starts Here: Although there is no cure, diabetes can be managed with changes in lifestyle (diet and exercise) and treatment. Self-management of diabetes is critical to overall health and longevity. Education and support is available. As we recognize Diabetes Awareness Month, take a few minutes to listen and learn more.