More than 90% of adverse drug events go undetected by a voluntary reporting system, a recent study has found

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According to an article published in the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, the use of medication-related triggers can successfully detect adverse drug events (ADEs), supporting the usefulness of trigger tools as an alternative method to the voluntary reporting system.

The 1-year, single-centre, retrospective quality improvement study was conducted to assess the positive predictive values (PPV) of four medication-related triggers (flumazenil, naloxone, glucose less than 70 mg/dl, or dextrose 50%) in an attempt to detect a higher number of ADEs than with the voluntary reporting system. Although this is currently the most common system to identify ADEs, it fails to capture more than 90% of them.

The results showed that a total of 161 triggers were assessed, and 107 ADEs were identified: six for flumazenil, 29 for naloxone, 38 for glucose less than 70 mg/dl, and 34 for dextrose 50%. PPV values for the detection of ADEs ranged from 0.55 to 0.76, with flumazenil having the lowest PPV and glucose less than 70 mg/dl having the highest PPV.

Remarkably, of the 107 ADEs identified, only three events were reported through the hospital’s voluntary event reporting system. This shows that trigger tools can serve as an adjunct for adverse event detection, capturing events that would be otherwise missed.

This article was originally published on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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