What is an adverse drug event (ADE)?

An adverse drug event (ADE) is when someone has a bad reaction to a medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

ADEs cause more than 700,000 emergency department visits in the U.S. each year. Nearly 120,000 patients have to be hospitalized annually because of the ADEs.

Adults age 65 and older are twice as likely as other people to visit emergency departments because of ADEs.


Symptoms of an ADE include the following:

  • Swelling of the lips, tongue and face
  • Breathing problems
  • Itching
  • Flushing
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Stomach ache or diarrhea
  • Coughing

Talk to your physician for more information about adverse drug events.

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