Health Advice



Adverse drug reactions are an increasing risk for many

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

A rising tide may float all boats -- at least according to an old adage that suggests a good economy lifts everyone up. But these days, the rising tide of adverse drug interactions and reactions could leave you up the creek without a paddle.

The Food and Drug Administration said that in 2018, some studies estimated 6.7% of hospitalized patients had a serious adverse drug reaction. And, they said, if that were correct then there were more than 2.2 million serious ADRs in hospitalized patients, causing more than 106,000 deaths annually.

Now a new study in BMJ Open shows that 16.5% of hospital admissions in the U.K. are caused by, or complicated by, an adverse reaction to a medicine. The medications most often involved in ADRs were diuretics, steroid inhalers, anticoagulants and antiplatelet, proton pump inhibitors, chemotherapeutic agents and high blood pressure meds.

As evermore people take multiple medications for multiple chronic conditions, there is good reason to think that kind of increase in ADRs is happening here, too. More than half of U.S. adults age 65 and older report taking four or more prescription drugs, and, overall, 23.5% of women and 21.1% of men use five or more prescription drugs regularly.

To protect yourself:

-- Make sure all your doctors know about all the meds you're taking.

-- Insist they examine potential interactions between them.


-- Ask if you still need to be taking each of the medications.

-- Alert each doctor if you are having symptoms that seem odd or not related to a specific infection or condition.


Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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