• adverse drug reaction;
  • elderly;
  • medication error

Background:  Adverse drug reactions (ADR) in elderly people are often attributed to functional decline and polypharmacy.

Methods:  In this study, a multi-institutional retrospective survey was undertaken to investigate the current status of ADR in geriatric units of university hospitals. The inpatient databases from 2000 to 2002 for five university hospitals were studied, and a total of 1289 patients were analyzed.

Results:  The incidence of ADR, as determined by attending physicians, was 9.2% on average, but varied from 6.3 to 15.8% among the institutions. Factors significantly related to ADR were the number of diagnoses, the number of geriatric syndromes, the number of prescribed drugs, an increase of two or more drugs during hospitalization, longer hospital stay, emergency admission, depression and apathy.

Conclusion:  These results are mostly consistent with previous reports and provide important information on drug treatment in elderly people.