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 research employs populations as probes to elucidate drug action. His team identified a survival benefit of potassium supplementation in users of loop diuretics, and found that this survival benefit increases with hotter outdoor temperature--the first weather-drug interaction to be found in a controlled study. He has studied serious health consequences of drug-drug interactions involving high-risk drugs including anticoagulants, antidiabetes drugs 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 that demonstrated 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 worldwide 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 therapy for type 2 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.

Description of Other Expertise

Dr. Hennessy is a past scientific chair and past president of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology, and has served on FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee and on the board of directors of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. He is a co-editor of the books Pharmacoepidemiology, 5th edition and Textbook of Pharmacoepidemiology, 2nd edition.

Additional Positions:
Director, Center for Pharmacoepidemiology Research & Training
Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
Fellow, Institute on Aging
Co-Chair, Drug Use and Effects Committee, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Member, Pharmacy Council, University of Pennsylvania Health System
Special Government Employee, US FDA
Member, Health Services and Organizational Delivery Study Section, US NIH

Courses Led:
EPI 666: Pharmacoepidemiology Research Methods

1998 Stanley A. Edlavitch Award for Best Abstract Submitted by a Student, International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology
2002 Saul Winegrad Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania
2005 Young Alumnus Award, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
2008 Leon I Goldberg Young Investigator Award, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
2013 Samuel Martin Health Evaluation Sciences Research Award, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
2014 Julius W. Sturmer Memorial Lecture Award, Alpha Tau Chapter of the Rho Chi Society, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences
2015 Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine

Selected Publications

Leonard CE, Zhou M, Brensinger CM, Bilker WB. Soprano SE, Pham Nguyen TP, Nam Y, Cohen JB, Hennessy S: Clopidogrel drug interactions and serious bleeding: High-throughput screening using the self-controlled case series design. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2019 (doi:10.1002/cpt.1507).

Gaulton TG, Wunsch H, Gaskins LJ, Leonard CE, Hennessy S, Ashburn M, Brensinger C, Newcomb C, Duminda W, Bateman BT, Bethell J, Neuman MD: Preoperative sedative-hypnotic medication use and adverse postoperative outcomes. Annals of Surgery 2019 (doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003556).

Saine ME, Carbonari DM, Newcomb CW, Gallagher AM, Blak BT, Roy JA, Wood J, Cardillo S, Hennessy S, Strom BL, Lo Re V: Concordance of hospitalizations between Clinical Practice Research Datalink and linked Hospital Episode Statistics among patients treated with oral antidiabetic therapies. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 2019 (doi: 10.1002/pds.4853).

Yam YH, Bilker WB, Leonard CE, Bell ML, Alexander LM, Hennessy S: Effect of statins on the association between high temperature and all-cause mortality in a socioeconomically disadvantaged population: a cohort study. Scientific Reports 9: 4685, 2019.

Carnahan RM, Gagne JJ, Hampp C, Leonard CE, Toh S, Fuller CC, Hennessy S, Hou L, Cocoros NM, Panucci G, Woodworth T, Cosgrove A, Iyer A, Chrischilles EA: Evaluation of the US Food and Drug Administration Sentinel analysis tools using a comparator with a different indication: Comparing the rates of gastrointestinal bleeding in warfarin and statin users. Pharmaceutical Medicine 33(1): 29-43, 2019.

Dasgupta N, Bailey JE, Schwartz J, Hennessy S, Ertefaie A, Dart R : Causal inference for evaluating prescription opioid abuse using the trend-in-trend design. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 28: 716-25, 2019.

Nam YH, Bilker WB, Leonard CE, Bell ML, Hennessy S: Outdoor temperature and survival benefit of empiric potassium in users of furosemide in us Medicaid enrollees: a cohort study BMJ Open 9: e023809, 2019.

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 doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.2820.

Noe MH, Shin DB, Hubbard RA, Hennessy S, Gelfand JM: Influenza vaccination rates in adults with psoriasis compared to adults with other chronic diseases [research letter] Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2018 (doi:10.1016/j.jid.2018.09.012).

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).

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Last updated: 08/17/2019
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