Brian L Erstad
Department Head, Pharmacy Practice-Science
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Primary Department
(520) 626-4289
Work Summary
Brian Erstad’s research interests pertain to critical care medicine with an emphasis on patient safety and related outcomes research.
Research Interest
Brian L. Erstad, PharmD, FCCM, is currently a tenured professor and head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science. He is also a center investigator for the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomics Research and a co-director for the Arizona Clinical and Translational Research Graduate Certificate Program. His clinical responsibilities are performed at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson.Dr. Erstad’s research interests pertain to critical care medicine with an emphasis on patient safety and related outcomes research. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.Dr. Erstad has served on the board of directors of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and on numerous committees and task forces for other organizations including AHRQ, USP, Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American College of Chest Physicians. He is currently an ad hoc member of the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, a steering committee member of the United States Critical Illness and Injury Trials (USCIIT) Group, and treasurer of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.


Erstad, B. L., & Tong, T. G. (1999). Evaluation of learning skills development and computer-assisted learning strategies associated with an orientation program. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 63(2), 182-185.


The promotion of the importance of self-learning skills to students has paralleled the increasing use of computer technologies both in and out of the classroom. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate an extended orientation session for incoming pharmacy students that included instruction in learning skills development and the use of computer-assisted instructional strategies. Pre- and post-assessment surveys containing questions with Likert-type response scales were completed by the students. Overall, the students found the sessions to be useful, with statistically significant improvements noted in their perceptions of the importance of learning techniques and use of the Internet for health-related purposes. Learning skills development and computer-assisted learning strategies are important aspects of a student's education, and this can be emphasized and initiated during orientation programs for incoming students.

Whipple, J. K., Lewis, K. S., Quebbeman, E. J., Esser, M. J., Gottlieb, M. S., McKindley, D. S., Hess, M., Boucher, B. A., Jancik, J. T., Wesley, L. C., Erstad, B., & Ausman, R. K. (1995). Current patterns of prescribing and administering morphine in trauma patients. Pharmacotherapy, 15(2), 210-215.

PMID: 7624268;Abstract:

We attempted to characterize the current prescribing practices and administration patterns for intravenous intermittent morphine in trauma patients in a multicenter, open prospective, observational study. The subjects were 141 patients admitted to the surgical intensive care units (ICU) of five United States trauma centers within 12 hours of injury who received intermittent intravenous morphine for pain relief. The study was conducted from April 15, 1992, to February 15, 1993. Data obtained during the first 32 hours of the ICU stay included morphine regimen, doses administered, and time between doses. One hundred sixty-one orders were prescribed by surgeons. The most frequently ordered dose was 2-4 mg and the most frequently ordered interval was every hour as necessary. There was no relationship between the severity of injury and the minimum close ordered. During the 492 nursing shifts studied, 1257 doses were administered. Of these, 44% were at or below the minimum amount prescribed by the surgeons. Thirty three percent of the patients received a dose at an interval of more than 3 hours. We concluded that small amounts of narcotic analgesics are given to severely injured patients, and amount ordered is not affected by the severity of injury.

Jasiak, K. D., Middleton, E. A., Camamo, J. M., Erstad, B. L., Snyder, L. S., & Huckleberry, Y. C. (2013). Evaluation of discontinuation of atypical antipsychotics prescribed for ICU delirium. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 26(3), 253-256.

PMID: 23184410;Abstract:

A number of trials suggest that short-term use of atypical antipsychotics may be useful in the treatment of delirium associated with critical illness. However, long-term use of such agents for this indication has not been studied and may be associated with risks of adverse effects as well as unnecessary health care costs. A retrospective study of prescribing patterns of atypical antipsychotics initiated for the treatment of intensive care unit (ICU) delirium was performed to identify whether these agents were being discontinued prior to or upon hospital discharge. Of the 59 patients who met inclusion criteria and survived to hospital discharge, 28 (47%) were continued on the atypical antipsychotic upon discharge from the medical ICU. For those continued on the agent, 20 patients (71.4%) were prescribed continued therapy as an outpatient. Inpatient costs for atypical antipsychotics during the 9-month study period were increased by approximately $888. Annual cost of the medication as outpatient therapy is assessed at approximately $45 107. Although short-term trials of atypical antipsychotics may be useful for ICU delirium, caution is advised regarding potential adverse effects and added health care costs when use is prolonged. © The Author(s) 2012.

Daller, J. A., Erstad, B., Rosado, L., Otto, C., & Putnam, C. W. (1991). Aminophylline antagonizes the neuromuscular blockade of pancuronium but not vecuronium. Critical Care Medicine, 19(7), 983-985.
Patanwala, A. E., Martin, J. R., & Erstad, B. L. (2015). Ketamine for Analgosedation in the Intensive Care Unit: A Systematic Review. Journal of intensive care medicine.

To evaluate the evidence for the use of intravenous ketamine for analgosedation in the intensive care unit.