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

Gray SL, Walker RL, Dublin S, Yu O, Bowles EJA, Anderson ML, Crane PK, Larson EB. Proton pump inhibitor use and dementia risk: prospective population-based study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Nov 14. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15073. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Simon GE, Johnson E, Stewart C, Rossom RC, Beck A, Coleman KJ, Waitzfelder B, Penfold R, Operskalski BH, Shortreed SM. Does patient adherence to antidepressant medication actually vary between physicians? J Clin Psychiatry. 2017 Oct 24. pii: 16m11324. doi: 10.4088/JCP.16m11324. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Chen L, Chubak J, Boudreau DM, Barlow WE, Weiss NS, Li CI. Use of antihypertensive medications and risk of adverse breast cancer outcomes in a SEER-Medicare population. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2017 Nov;26(11):1603-1610. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-17-0346. Epub 2017 Aug 14. 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

Researchers in Medication Use & Patient Safety

Jennifer C. Nelson, PhD

Director of Biostatistics; Senior Investigator
206-287-2004
Jen.Nelson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Denise M. Boudreau, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2067
Denise.M.Boudreau@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea J. Cook, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-4257
Andrea.J.Cook@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2870
Sascha.Dublin@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Michael L. Jackson, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-2220
Michael.L.Jackson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Professor and Chief of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego
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, KPWHRI
206-287-2988
Eric.B.Larson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana L. Miglioretti, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Dean’s Professor of Biostatistics, University of California, Davis
206-287-4266
dmiglioretti@ucdavis.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Bruce M. Psaty, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Services, University of Washington
206-221-7775
psaty@uw.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator, KPWHRI; Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Internal Medicine
206-287-4610
David.E.Arterburn@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jessica Chubak, PhD, MBHL

Senior Investigator
206-287-2556
Jessica.Chubak@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Susan M. Shortreed, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2088
Susan.M.Shortreed@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Karen Wernli, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2934
Karen.J.Wernli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ellen O'Meara, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2938
Ellen.S.O'Meara@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Onchee Yu, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2389
Onchee.Yu@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Rod L. Walker, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2895
Rod.L.Walker@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Robert D. Wellman, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2557
Robert.D.Wellman@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gaia Pocobelli, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2914
Gaia.S.Pocobelli@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David S. Carrell, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2705
David.S.Carrell@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Lu Chen, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2024
Lu.Chen@kp.org

Laura Harrington, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2066
Laura.B.Harrington@kp.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