Medications have transformed the lives of Canadians suffering from many debilitating conditions. However, medications may also cause harm. As medication use has increased, so has the incidence of adverse drug events (ADEs), harmful and unintended events related to medication use. Today, ADEs cause over 2 million emergency department visits across Canada each year, and are a leading cause of admissions.
Preventing ADEs is not easy. Health care providers often unknowingly expose patients to the same or similar medications as ones that previously caused harm. For example: