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October 17, 1977

Intravenous Administration Deaths—Drug Deaths

JAMA. 1977;238(16):1720. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280170014002

To the Editor.—  The recent article by Porter and Jick on drug-related deaths (237:879, 1977) and the related editorial by de Jong (237:898, 1977) require some additional comment and, perhaps, a modified perspective. In the article is ample documentation that five patients died of pulmonary edema out of 7,783 exposed to intravenous (IV) administration. This is not inconsistent with the earlier article1 in which there were reported four deaths in 2,048 exposed. In the earlier article the four who died were aged 48, 60, 63, and 72 years (median age, over 60 years), while in the present article, which reported a lower incidence, the ages were generally lower: 17, 41, 45, 46, and 84 years (median age of 45 years).In the editorial de Jong correctly points out that the IV-related deaths were not due to a drug but more probably to "the mode of administration (ie, too much,