Bad antibiotics reactions responsible for 140,000-plus hospital visits annually

8/14/2008

ARLINGTON, Va. More than 140,000 emergency room visits per year result from bad reactions to antibiotics, a study shows.

Published in the Sept. 15 issue of the Journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, it is the first study to make detailed data on the scope and burden of bad reactions to antibiotics available.

“This number is an important reminder for physicians and patients that antibiotics can have serious side effects and should only be taken when necessary,” study author Daniel Budnitz said at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study found that almost 80 percent of the reactions were allergic reactions, ranging from rashes to anaphylactic responses. The remaining 20 percent resulted form errors and overdoses. Half the visits were for reactions to drugs in the penicillin family, while the other half were for other antibiotics. Babies younger than 1 were found to have the highest rate of bad reactions.

It drew information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-Cooperative Adverse Drug Event Surveillance project, also known as NEISS-CADES. The project is a joint effort by the CDC, Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission and gathers information from 63 hospitals in the United States.

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