Prescribing, Taking Antipsychotics, Sedatives, Anxiolytics, Antidepressants, or Stimulants: Take Care

Medications can improve the quality of life for many people, but they also carry the risk of causing potentially harmful side effects. Dr. Lee Hampton, a medical officer with the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, describes a recent CDC study estimating the number of adult emergency department visits for adverse events caused by therapeutic use of antipsychotics, sedatives, anxiolytics, antidepressants, and stimulants in the CDC Expert Commentary series on Medscape. The study estimated that adverse events from antipsychotics cause more than 20,000 emergency department visits each year, while adverse events from sedatives and anxiolytics cause more than 30,000 visits annually. The results provide a reminder that risks for serious side effects and the availability of other treatment approaches should be considered before prescribing medications. Visit CDC’s Medication Safety Program website to learn more about the study and adverse drug events. ]