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  • Writer's picturePatricia Camazzola

The Fourth Risk

Medications are intended to fix our medical problems but too often that isn't what happens. All medications come with side effects - some can be life threatening.


1. Adverse drug events (ADE) are unintended. They may be preventable or unpreventable. They are not associated with mistakes or errors.

2. All ADEs are associated with harm - sometimes fatal. Harm may be physical or emotional, reversible or nonreversible.

3. ADEs are a leading cause of hospital admission and the fourth leading cause of death - ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents, and automobile deaths.


The effects of any medication are not guaranteed to be beneficial.


Pharmacists remain the most accessible healthcare professional and are uniquely positioned to educate, monitor and communicate the proper use of medication.


Risk may be lessened by utilizing the expertise of pharmacists and by ensuring that medications are appropriate, effective and safe for patient use.

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