ABSTRACT: In recent years, there has been an increase of drugs poisoning cases seen in the Emergency Department. This study has aimed to evaluate the characteristics of these cases in the Ramón and Cajal Hospital in Madrid.
A descriptive analysis about the drug poisonings diagnosed in 2004 was performed, using a retrospective search in the database of the electronic clinical records. The studied variables were gender, age, intention, drugs, admission into the hospital and relapse.
There were 566 drug poisoning (47%) with a cumulative incidence of 0.1%, in which women (62.3%) were found to predominate, and the average patient age was 42.46+/-19.97 years (range 14-100 years). In 64.31% of the cases (566), only one kind of drug was used, benzodiazepine being the most common. This appeared at least once in 62% of the cases. Furthermore, 83% were cases of voluntary poisoning. Of the involuntary poisonings, digoxin was the most common drug with a frequency of 58.4%. A total of 28.6% of the cases were admitted into hospital, while the total number of patients who suffered a relapse in this period was 10%.
Voluntary drug intoxications are caused mostly by psychoactive drugs, likely due to a high prevalence of underlying psychiatric disease in these patients. However, unintentional intoxications are mainly found in patients under chronic treatment with drugs such as digoxin and antiepileptics. More studies should be carried out to analyze which kind of preventive actions could reduce or avoid the high number of relapses.
Revista Clínica Española 11/2008; 208(9):432-6. · 2.01 Impact Factor