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News2007September › Drug Reactions: Deaths and serious problems triple in 8 years › September 2007

Drug Reactions: Deaths and serious problems triple in 8 years

The annual rates of serious adverse reactions and deaths from a prescribed drug have almost tripled since 1998

The annual rates of serious adverse reactions and deaths from a prescribed drug have almost tripled since 1998.

Just 51 drugs - including painkillers and immune system-modifying agents - were responsible for the vast majority of reactions, new figures reveal.

In 2005 - the most recent year when figures have been made available - 15,107 people in America died as the result of taking a prescription drug, while 89,842 people suffered a serious adverse reaction, which resulted in disability, hospital care or a birth defect.

These reactions - all reported to America's drug regulator, the Food and Drug Administration - represent an increase of 2.7 times on figures produced in 1998.

Overall, the FDA received reports of 467,809 deaths and serious adverse reactions between 1998 and 2005.

(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007; 167: 1752-9).

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