Denise Boudreau, PhD

“The research I do helps people make more informed decisions about the medications they take.”

Denise Boudreau, PhD

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Pharmacoepidemiologist Denise Boudreau, PhD, plays an integral role in Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) investigations into medication safety and cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals. Known at the Institute for her expertise in pharmacoepidemiologic methods, she has diverse experience spanning pharmacies, classrooms, and research institutions.

Dr. Boudreau worked as a pharmacist before earning her Masters in Pharmacy Administration (1996) from the University of Rhode Island and PhD from the Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Research Policy Program (2002) at the University of Washington (UW). She began her career at KPWHRI in 2003. Dr. Boudreau is also a affiliate professor in the UW School of Pharmacy and UW Department of Epidemiology where she teaches the graduate pharmacoepidemiology course and mentors students.

Dr. Boudreau is adept at using electronic health records for research purposes and has expertise in observational study design, managed care, drug safety, and economic evaluation. She brings an in-depth working knowledge of Kaiser Permanente Washington pharmacy data and practices to her research, which ranges from cancer to women’s health to opioid medication safety. She has been the Health Care Systems Research Network Steering Committee Representative for the Food and Drug Administration Mini Sentinel Initiative for the past eight years and was extensively involved in developing both the data and methods for signal detection of adverse events.

Dr. Boudreau has pioneered work in the field of medication safety as it relates to cancer risk and cancer outcomes as well as studying the medication management of comorbidities among cancer survivors. For the last five years, she has dedicated her studies to helping solve the opioid epidemic in the U.S. She is currently leading two large multisite studies of the risk of opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction with long-term opioid therapy and the relation between opioid use during pregnancy and risk of birth defects. She is a co-investigator on a clinical trial to improve treatment of opioid use disorder and a co-investigator on an observational study to better understand what leads to successful tapering or discontinuing of opioids among long-term, high dose users.

Dr. Boudreau's research has been exhibited internationally at conferences such as the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, and the Congress of Epidemiology. Her professional memberships include the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology and the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. She retains her pharmacy license in Washington state.

Research interests and experience

  • Medication Use & Patient Safety

    General drug safety research; pharmaco-epidemiology; observational study research methods; active surveillance on the safety of pharmaceuticals; validation of pharmacy data sources; pharmacy practice research

  • Health Services & Economics

    Pharmaceutical outcomes research; cost-effectiveness analysis; impact of benefit designs on clinical and economic endpoints; burden of illness

  • Cancer

    Clinical and biologic effect of commonly used medications on cancer risk and outcomes; cost-effectiveness of chemotherapy

Recent publications

Pocobelli G, Yu O, Ziebell RA, Aiello Bowles EJ, Fujii MM, Sterrett AT, Boggs JM, Chen L, Boudreau DM, Ritzwoller DP, Hubbard RA, Chubak J. Use of antidepressants after colon cancer diagnosis and risk of recurrence. Psychooncology. 2019 Jan 31. doi: 10.1002/pon.5015. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Chubak J, Yu O, Ziebell RA, Bowles EJA, Sterrett AT, Fujii MM, Boggs JM, Burnett-Hartman AN, Boudreau DM, Chen L, Floyd JS, Ritzwoller DP, Hubbard RA. Risk of colon cancer recurrence in relation to diabetes. Cancer Causes Control. 2018 Sep 22. pii: 10.1007/s10552-018-1083-3. doi: 10.1007/s10552-018-1083-3. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Heath L, Gray SL, Boudreau DM, Thummel K, Edwards KL, Fullerton SM, Crane PK, Larson EB. Cumulative antidepressant use and risk of dementia in a prospective cohort study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Sep 17. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15508. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Leonard CE, Brensinger CM, Aquilante CL, Bilker WB, Boudreau DM, Deo R, Flory JH, Gagne JJ, Mangaali MJ, Hennessy S. Comparative safety of sulfonylureas and the risk of sudden cardiac arrest and ventricular arrhythmia. Diabetes Care. 2018 Apr;41(4):713-722. doi: 10.2337/dc17-0294. Epub 2018 Feb 2. PubMed

Lott JP, Boudreau DM, Barnhill RL, Weinstock MA, Knopp E, Piepkorn MW, Elder DE, Knezevich SR, Baer A, Tosteson ANA, Elmore JG. Population-based analysis of histologically confirmed melanocytic proliferations using natural language processing. JAMA Dermatol. 2017 Nov 1. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.4060. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed


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