Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD

faculty photo
Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Department: Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
University of Pennsylvania
423 Guardian Drive
803 Blockley Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021
Office: 215-898-9112
Fax: 215-573-5315
BS (Pharmacy)
Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, 1989.
PharmD (Clinical Pharmacy)
Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, 1990.
MSCE (Clinical Epidemiology)
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1996.
PhD (Epidemiology with Biostatistics minor)
University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
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Description of Research Expertise

Dr. Hennessy conducts research in the field of pharmacoepidemiology, which is the study of the health effects of drugs and other medical products in populations. His team identified a survival benefit of potassium supplementation in users of loop diuretics, and studied serious health consequences of drug-drug interactions involving high-risk drugs including anticoagulants, antidiabetic agents and antiplatelet agents. His research has produced crucial knowledge about the cardiovascular safety of many widely-used drugs for mental health conditions in including ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia. He also evaluated an early approach to using medical insurance data to improve prescribing, finding it ineffective despite its federal mandate. This contributed to the omission of a requirement for drug utilization review programs in Medicare Part D. He co-led a pair of studies demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of the SA14-14-2 vaccine for Japanese encephalitis (JE), which subsequently led to the immunization of millions of children per year in populous countries including Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Use of that vaccine has been credited with reducing the incidence of JE. He co-developed the trend-in-trend research design for studying the effects of rapidly increasing or declining exposures. He was the senior author of one of two citizen petitions to the US Food and Drug Administration that led to re-labeling of metformin, the best-proven oral drug for diabetes, to permit its use in persons with mild to moderate renal insufficiency. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Medicine.

Selected Publications

Mantri S, Fullard M, Gray SL, Hubbard RA, Weintraub D, Hennessy S, Willis AW: Patterns of dementia treatment and frank prescribing errors in Parkinson disease. JAMA Neurology 2018 (forthcoming).

Na L, Hennessy S, Xie S, Saliba D, Pan Q, Kwong P, Kurichi J, Bogner HR, Streim JE: Premorbid activity limitation stages are associated with post-hospitalization discharge disposition. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 2018 (doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000896).

Nam YH, Brensinger C, Bilker WB, Leonard CE, Han X, Hennessy S: Serious hypoglycemia and use of warfarin in combination with sulfonylureas or metformin. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2018 (DOI:10.1002/cpt.1146).

Pezzin L, Bogner H, Kurichi J, Kwong P, Streim J, Xie D, Na L, Hennessy S: Preventable hospitalizations, barriers to care, and disability. Medicine 2018 (DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010691).

Ertefaie A, Small DS, Leonard CE, Ji X, Hennessy S: Assumptions underlying the trend-in-trend research design. Epidemiology 2018 (DOI: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000890).

Delgado MK, Huang Y, Meisel Z, Hennessy S, Yokell M, Polsky D, Perrone D: National variation in opioid prescribing and risk of prolonged use for opioid-naïve patients treated in the emergency department for ankle sprains. Annals of Emergency Medicine 2018 (DOI: 0.1016/j.annemergmed.2018.06.003).

Miano TA, Lautenbach E, Wilson FP, Guo W, Borovskiy Y, Hennessy S: Attributable risk and time course of colistin associated acute kidney injury. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 13: 542-550, 2018

Leonard CE, Han X, Brensinger CM, Bilker WB, Cardillo S, Flory JH, Hennessy S: Comparative risk of serious hypoglycemia with oral antidiabetic monotherapy: a retrospective cohort study. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 27: 9-18, 2018

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 41: 713-22, 2018

Ertefaie A, Small DS, Ji X, Leonard CE, Hennessy S: Statistical power for the trend-in-trend design. Epidemiology 29(3): e21-e23, 2018.

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Last updated: 08/17/2018
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