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Title: Population-scale identification of differential adverse events before and during a pandemic

Adverse patient safety events, unintended injuries resulting from medical therapy, were associated with 110,000 deaths in the United States in 2019. A nationwide pandemic (such as COVID-19) further challenges the ability of healthcare systems to ensure safe medication use and the pandemic’s effects on safety events remain poorly understood. Here, we investigate drug safety events across demographic groups before and during a pandemic using a dataset of 1,425,371 reports involving 2,821 drugs and 7,761 adverse events. Among 64 adverse events identified by our analyses, we find 54 increased in frequency during the pandemic, despite a 4.4% decrease in the total number of reports. Out of 53 adverse events with a pre-pandemic gender gap, 33 have seen their gap increase with the pandemic onset. We find that the number of adverse events with an increased reporting ratio is higher in adults (by 16.8%) than in older patients. Our findings have implications for safe medication use and preventable healthcare inequality in public health emergencies.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Computational Science
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 666-677
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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