Medication Use & Patient Safety

“We can dramatically improve health care by making sure people get the right medicines at appropriate doses.”

Denise M. Boudreau, RPh, PhD
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator

Research overview

Americans are using more prescription drugs than ever. You may worry about side effects, drug interactions, and costs, especially if you use multiple medications. Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) scientists are studying the beneficial and harmful effects of medications in real-world settings such as Kaiser Permanente Washington. And they are working on ways to manage and monitor drug use better.

“We can dramatically improve health care by making sure people get the right medicines at appropriate doses,” said Denise M. Boudreau, RPh, PhD, KPWHRI senior investigator. “The Institute contributes to this effort by participating in national initiatives to monitor medication safety. At the personal level, we’re providing information to doctors and patients for weighing the risks and benefits of various prescription drugs.”

Funders of KPWHRI medication use and patient safety research include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the Group Health Foundation, and other sources. Projects include:

  • Developing and evaluating a primary care program for safe use of prescription opioids commonly used for pain, such as Oxycontin and Vicodin;
  • Studying the safety of cardiovascular medications, including in older adults;
  • Proactive monitoring of medical products through the FDA Sentinel Initiative;
  • Exploring how genetics might personalize treatments;
  • Studying medication safety during pregnancy;
  • Investigating how medications affect risk of cognitive decline and dementia in late life; and
  • Monitoring vaccine safety and effectiveness.

“Our work gives patients and providers evidence about the outcomes of medication use—both harmful and beneficial—to help them make informed personal decisions about prescription drug use,” said Associate Investigator Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD.

Recent publications on Medication Use & Patient Safety

Fredericksen RJ, Gibbons L, Brown S, Edwards TC, Yang FM, Fitzsimmons E, Alperovitz-Bichell K, Godfrey M, Wang A, Church A, Gutierrez C, Paez E, Dant L, Loo S, Walcott M, Mugavero MJ, Mayer K, Mathews WC, Patrick DL, Crane PK, Crane HM. Medication understanding among patients living with multiple chronic conditions: implications for patient-reported measures of adherence. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2017 Jun 20. pii: S1551-7411(17)30082-7. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2017.06.009. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Campbell CI, Kline-Simon AH, Von Korff M, Saunders KW, Weisner C. Alcohol and drug use and aberrant drug-related behavior among patients on chronic opioid therapy. Subst Use Misuse. 2017 Mar 27:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1276189. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Dublin S, Walker RL, Gray S, Hubbard RA, Anderson ML, Yu O, Montine TJ, Crane PK, Sonnen JA, Larson EB. Use of analgesics (opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and dementia related neuropathology in a community-based autopsy cohort. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;58(2):435-448. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160374. PubMed

Wersocki E, Bedson J, Chen Y, LeResche L, Dunn KM. Comprehensive systematic review of long-term opioids in women with chronic noncancer pain and associated reproductive dysfunction (hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis disruption). Pain. 2017;158(1):8-16. PubMed

Hart R, Veenstra DL, Boudreau DM, Roth JA. The impact of body mass index and genetics on warfarin major bleeding outcomes in a community setting. Am J Med. 2016 Sep 1. pii: S0002-9343(16)30860-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.08.017 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Researchers in Medication Use & Patient Safety

Jennifer C. Nelson, PhD

Director of Biostatistics; Senior Investigator
206-287-2004
nelson.jl@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Denise M. Boudreau, PhD

Sr Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
206-287-2067
boudreau.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-4257
cook.aj@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2870
dublin.s@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Michael L. Jackson, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-2220
jackson.ml@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

Senior Investigator
858-822-1073
Alacroix@ucsd.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, MACP

Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington; Executive Director & Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
206-287-2988
larson.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana L. Miglioretti, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-4266
miglioretti.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Bruce M. Psaty, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-543-0710
psaty@u.washington.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH

Sr Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute; Physician, Washington Permanente Medicial Group, Internal Medicine
206-287-4610
arterburn.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jessica Chubak, PhD, MBHL

Associate Investigator
206-287-2556
chubak.j@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Susan M. Shortreed, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2088
shortreed.s@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2934
wernli.k@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ellen O'Meara, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2938
omeara.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Onchee Yu, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2389
yu.o@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Rod L. Walker, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2895
walker.rl@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Robert D. Wellman, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2557
wellman.r@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gaia Pocobelli, PhD

Research Associate
287-2914
pocobelli.g@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David S. Carrell, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2705
carrell.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Lu Chen, PhD, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2024
chen.l@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate researchers

Susan Heckbert, MD, PhD
University of Washington (UW) Department of Epidemiology; UW Cardiovascular Health Research Unit

David Siscovick, MD, MPH
UW Department of Medicine; UW Department of Epidemiology; UW Cardiovascular Health Research Unit

Leslie Spangler, PhD
Amgen