Statistical epidemiology in population health and health services research: Quality and patient safety in medicines

The Irish population is getting older and this is leading to an increase in the use of medications. The number of elderly people on 5 or more regular medicines increased greatly from 1997 to 2012. It is known that an increase in the number of prescription medications leads to potential problems of drug interactions, problems taking medicines (adherence), increased drug costs and adverse drug events (ADEs). ADEs are defined as; harm caused by a drug or the inappropriate use of a drug. These account for approximately 15-20% of all healthcare related adverse events. How well medicines are taken can also have an effect on health outcomes.
The focus of this research programme is on medication quality and safety. The specific objectives are:
1. To provide an estimate of the extent, type, severity and factors predicting ADEs in older patients in primary care. 2. To provide an estimate of the extent, type and severity of ADEs resulting in hospital admission and associated costs. 3. To develop and evaluate, in a pilot trial, an intervention to help reduce ADEs. 4.To determine the association between medication taking behaviour, changes to medication and outcomes including ADEs, quality of life, healthcare utilisation and disease progression. 5To estimate the national burden, costs and outcomes of ADEs and poor adherence to medicines.
The research is expected to provide valuable information on the frequency and costs of drug related problems and treatment failures in Ireland. Identifying the impact that the drug related problems have on health outcomes, which will be of benefit to the public, healthcare professionals and policy makers. The additional value of the research will be to provide information on the risk prediction of ADEs, and ways of reducing future ADEs amongst the more than a million people taking medicines every day in Ireland.

Award Date
26 June 2015
Award Value
€744, 396
Principal Investigator
Professor Kathleen Bennett
Host Institution
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Research Leader Awards