Alvin C Bronstein

University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, United States

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Publications (27)128.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Deaths from drug overdose have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States, where the poison center system is available to provide real-time advice and collect data about a variety of poisonings. In 2012, emergency medical providers were confronted with new poisonings, such as bath salts (substituted cathinones) and Spice (synthetic cannabinoid drugs), as well as continued trends in established poisonings such as from prescription opioids. This article addresses current trends in opioid poisonings; new substances implicated in poisoning cases, including unit-dose laundry detergents, bath salts, Spice, and energy drinks; and the role of poison centers in public health emergencies such as the Fukushima radiation incident. Copyright © 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Annals of Emergency Medicine 12/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.11.001 · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Association of Poison Control Centers conduct national surveillance on data collected by US poison centers to identify incidents of potential public health significance (IPHS). The overarching goals of this collaboration are to improve CDC's national surveillance capacity for public health threats, identify early markers of public health incidents and enhance situational awareness. The National Poison Data System (NPDS) is used as a surveillance system to automatically identify data anomalies. Purpose. To characterize data anomalies and IPHS captured by national surveillance of poison center data over 5 years. Methods. Data anomalies are identified through three surveillance methodologies: call-volume, clinical effect, and case-based. Anomalies are reviewed by a team of epidemiologists and clinical toxicologists to determine IPHS using standardized criteria. The authors reviewed IPHS identified by these surveillance activities from 2008 through 2012. Results. Call-volume surveillance identified 384 IPHS; most were related to gas and fume exposures (n = 229; 59.6%) with the most commonly implicated substance being carbon monoxide (CO) (n = 92; 22.8%). Clinical-effect surveillance identified 138 IPHS; the majority were related to gas and fume exposures (n = 58; 42.0%) and gastrointestinal complaints (n = 84; 16.2%), and the most commonly implicated substance was CO (n = 20; 14.4%). Among the 11 case-based surveillance definitions, the botulism case definition yielded the highest percentage of identified agent-specific illness. Conclusions. A small proportion of data anomalies were designated as IPHS. Of these, CO releases were the most frequently reported IPHS and gastrointestinal syndromes were the most commonly reported illness manifestations. poison center data surveillance may be used as an approach to identify exposures, illnesses, and incidents of importance at the national and state level.
    Clinical Toxicology 09/2014; 52(9):1-6. DOI:10.3109/15563650.2014.953171 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction. Acetylcysteine prevents hepatic injury when administered soon after acetaminophen overdose. The most commonly used treatment protocols are a 72-hour oral and a 21-hour intravenous (IV) protocol. Between 1984 and 1994, 409 patients were enrolled in a study to describe the outcomes of patients who were treated using a 48-hour IV protocol. In 1991, an interim analysis reported the first 223 patients. The objective of this manuscript is to report the rates of hepatotoxicity and adverse events occurring during a 48-hour IV acetylcysteine protocol in the entire 409 patient cohort. Methods. This was a multicenter, single-arm, open-label clinical trial enrolling patients who presented with a toxic serum acetaminophen concentration within 24 h of acute acetaminophen ingestion. Patients were treated with 140 mg/kg loading dose followed by 70 mg/kg every 4 h for 12 doses. Serum aminotransferase activities were measured every 8 h during the protocol, and adverse events were recorded. The primary outcome was the percentage of subjects who developed hepatotoxicity defined as a peak serum aminotransferase greater than 1000 IU/L. Results. Four hundred and nine patients were enrolled, and 309 met inclusion for the outcome analysis. The overall percentage of patients developing hepatotoxicity was 18.1%, and 3.4% of patients treated within 10 h developed hepatotoxicity. One acetaminophen-related death occurred in a patient treated at 22 h. Adverse events occurred in 28.9% of enrolled subjects; the most common adverse events were nausea, vomiting, and flushing, and no events were rated as serious by the investigator. Conclusions. Acetaminophen-overdosed patients treated with IV acetylcysteine administered as 140 mg/kg loading dose followed by 70 mg/kg every 4 h for 12 doses had a low rate of hepatotoxicity and few adverse events. This protocol delivers a higher dose of acetylcysteine which may be useful in selected cases involving very large overdoses.
    Clinical Toxicology 04/2014; 52(5). DOI:10.3109/15563650.2014.902955 · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Toxicology 02/2014; 52(3). DOI:10.3109/15563650.2014.888446 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We compare state trends in unintentional pediatric marijuana exposures, as measured by call volume to US poison centers, by state marijuana legislation status. A retrospective review of the American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poison Data System was performed from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2011. States were classified as nonlegal if they have not passed legislation, transitional if they enacted legislation between 2005 and 2011, and decriminalized if laws passed before 2005. Our hypotheses were that decriminalized and transitional states would experience a significant increase in call volume, with more symptomatic exposures and more health care admissions than nonlegal states. There were 985 unintentional marijuana exposures reported from 2005 through 2011 in children aged 9 years and younger: 496 in nonlegal states, 93 in transitional states, and 396 in decriminalized states. There was a slight male predominance, and the median age ranged from 1.5 to 2.0 years. Clinical effects varied, with neurologic effects the most frequent. More exposures in decriminalized states required health care evaluation and had moderate to major clinical effects and critical care admissions compared with exposures from nonlegal states. The call rate in nonlegal states to poison centers did not change from 2005 to 2011. The call rate in decriminalized states increased by 30.3% calls per year, and transitional states had a trend toward an increase of 11.5% per year. Although the number of pediatric exposures to marijuana reported to the National Poison Data System was low, the rate of exposure increased from 2005 to 2011 in states that had passed marijuana legislation.
    Annals of emergency medicine 02/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.01.017 · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Young men in Colorado presented with altered mental status and seizures after ingestion of a synthetic cannabinoid known as black mamba. Medical toxicologists and public health and law enforcement officials identified 263 cases of exposure to this novel substance.To the Editor: Although early reports of exposure to synthetic cannabinoids described a benign course,(1) with little need for emergency care, on August 24, 2013, patients began to present to Denver emergency departments with severe symptoms after exposure to a novel synthetic cannabinoid known locally as black mamba. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) was notified on September 3. Medical toxicologists and CDPHE epidemiologists developed a case definition and began prospective monitoring with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Records from poison control centers, care providers in nonhospital settings, and law enforcement were reviewed. ...
    New England Journal of Medicine 01/2014; 370(4):389-90. DOI:10.1056/NEJMc1313655 · 54.42 Impact Factor
  • Journal of medical toxicology: official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology 12/2013; 10(1). DOI:10.1007/s13181-013-0363-2
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    ABSTRACT: Poisonings from lamp oil ingestion continue to occur worldwide among the pediatric population despite preventive measures such as restricted sale of colored and scented lamp oils. This suggests that optimal prevention practices for unintentional pediatric exposures to lamp oil have yet to be identified and/or properly implemented. Objective. To characterize demographic, health data, and potential risk factors associated with reported exposures to lamp oil by callers to poison centers (PCs) in the US and discuss their public health implications. Study design. This was a two part study in which the first part included characterizing all exposures to a lamp oil product reported to the National Poison Data System (NPDS) with regard to demographics, exposure, health, and outcome data from 1/1/2000 to 12/31/2010. Regional penetrance was calculated using NPDS data by grouping states into four regions and dividing the number of exposure calls by pediatric population per region (from the 2000 US census). Temporal analyses were performed on NPDS data by comparing number of exposures by season and around the July 4th holiday. Poisson regression was used to model the count of exposures for these analyses. In the second part of this project, in order to identify risk factors we conducted a telephone-based survey to the parents of children from five PCs in five different states. The 10 most recent lamp oil product exposure calls for each poison center were systematically selected for inclusion. Calls in which a parent or guardian witnessed a pediatric lamp oil product ingestion were eligible for inclusion. Data on demographics, exposure information, behavioral traits, and health were collected. A descriptive analysis was performed and Fisher's exact test was used to evaluate associations between variables. All analyses were conducted using SAS v9.3. Results. Among NPDS data, 2 years was the most common patient age reported and states in the Midwestern region had the highest numbers of exposure calls compared to other regions. Exposure calls differed by season (p < 0.0001) and were higher around the July 4th holiday compared to the rest of the days in July (2.09 vs. 1.89 calls/day, p < 0.002). Most exposures occurred inside a house, were managed on-site and also had a "no effect" medical outcome. Of the 50 PC-administered surveys to parents or guardians, 39 (78%) met inclusion criteria for analysis. The majority of ingestions occurred in children that were 2 years of age, that were not alone, involved tiki torch fuel products located on a table or shelf, and occurred inside the home. The amount of lamp oil ingested did not appear to be associated with either the smell (p = 0.19) or the color of the oil (p = 1.00) in this small sample. Approximately half were asymptomatic (n = 18; 46%), and of those that reported symptoms, cough was the most common (n = 20, 95%) complaint. Conclusions. Lamp oil product exposures are most common among young children (around 2 years of age) while at home, not alone and likely as a result of the product being in a child-accessible location. Increasing parental awareness about potential health risks to children from these products and teaching safe storage and handling practices may help prevent both exposures and associated illness. These activities may be of greater benefit in Midwestern states and during summer months (including the period around the July 4th holiday).
    Clinical Toxicology 09/2013; 51(9). DOI:10.3109/15563650.2013.839028 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Context. Small studies have associated energy drinks-beverages that typically contain high concentrations of caffeine and other stimulants-with serious adverse health events. Objective. To assess the incidence and outcomes of toxic exposures to caffeine-containing energy drinks, including caffeinated alcoholic energy drinks, and to evaluate the effect of regulatory actions and educational initiatives on the rates of energy drink exposures. Methods. We analyzed all unique cases of energy drink exposures reported to the US National Poison Data System (NPDS) between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. We analyzed only exposures to caffeine-containing energy drinks consumed as a single product ingestion and categorized them as caffeine-containing non-alcoholic, alcoholic, or "unknown" for those with unknown formulations. Non-alcoholic energy drinks were further classified as those containing caffeine from a single source and those containing multiple stimulant additives, such as guarana or yerba mate. The data were analyzed for the demographics and outcomes of exposures (unknown data were not included in the denominator for percentages). The rates of change of energy drink-related calls to poison centers were analyzed before and after major regulatory events. Results. Of 2.3 million calls to the NPDS, 4854 (0.2%) were energy drink-related. The 3192 (65.8%) cases involving energy drinks with unknown additives were excluded. Of 1480 non-alcoholic energy drink cases, 50.7% were children < 6 years old; 76.7% were unintentional; and 60.8% were males. The incidence of moderate to major adverse effects of energy drink-related toxicity was 15.2% and 39.3% for non-alcoholic and alcoholic energy drinks, respectively. Major adverse effects consisted of three cases of seizure, two of non-ventricular dysrhythmia, one ventricular dysrhythmia, and one tachypnea. Of the 182 caffeinated alcoholic energy drink cases, 68.2% were < 20 years old; 76.7% were referred to a health care facility. Educational and legislative initiatives to enhance understanding of the health consequences of energy drink consumption were significantly associated with a decreased rate of energy drink-related cases (p = 0.036). Conclusions. About half the cases of energy drink-related toxicity involved unintentional exposures by children < 6 years old. Educational campaigns and legal restrictions on the sale of energy drinks were associated with decreasing calls to poison centers for energy drink toxicity and are encouraged.
    Clinical Toxicology 08/2013; 51(7):566-74. DOI:10.3109/15563650.2013.820310 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:Nontherapeutic medication ingestions continue to be a major pediatric health problem, with recent increases in ingestions despite a number of public health interventions. It is unknown how changes in adult prescription drug use relate to pediatric medication poisonings. The objective of the study was to measure the association between changing adult prescription drug patterns and pediatric medication exposures and poisonings and identify high-risk classes of medications and pediatric age groups.METHODS:We measured monthly pediatric exposures and poisonings using the National Poison Data System and prescriptions written for adults using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys for 2000 through 2009. Associations between adult prescriptions for oral hypoglycemics, antihyperlipidemics, β-blockers, and opioids and exposures and poisonings among children 0 to 5, 6 to 12, and 13 to 19 years were analyzed by using multiple time-series analysis. Emergency department visits, serious injuries, and hospitalizations stemming from these associations were described.RESULTS:Adult medication prescriptions were statistically significantly associated with exposures and poisonings in children of all ages, with the strongest association observed for opioids. Across medications, the greatest risk was among children 0 to 5 years old, followed by 13- to 19-year-olds. Rates of emergency department visits were highest for events related to hypoglycemics (60.1%) and β-blockers (59.7%), whereas serious injuries and hospitalizations occurred most frequently with opioids (26.8% and 35.2%, respectively) and hypoglycemics (19.5% and 49.4%, respectively).CONCLUSIONS:Increasing adult drug prescriptions are strongly associated with rising pediatric exposures and poisonings, particularly for opioids and among children 0 to 5 years old. These associations have sizable impacts, including high rates of serious injury and health care use.
    PEDIATRICS 06/2013; 132(1). DOI:10.1542/peds.2012-2978 · 5.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The plant Cannabis sativa has been used for centuries for the effects of its psychoactive resins. The term "marijuana" typically refers to tobacco-like preparations of the leaves and flowers. The plant contains more than 400 chemicals but the cannabinoid δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the major psychoactive constituent. "Hashish" is the resin extracted from the tops of flowering plants and generally has a much higher THC concentration. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Currently, several states have passed legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for both medical and personal use and several other states have similar legislation under consideration. The most common form of marijuana use in humans is inhalation of the smoke of marijuana cigarettes, followed by ingestion. In animals, although secondhand smoke inhalation is possible, the most common source of exposure is through ingestion of the owner's marijuana supply. The minimum lethal oral dose for dogs for THC is more than 3 g/kg. Although the drug has a high margin of safety, deaths have been seen after ingestion of food products containing the more concentrated medical-grade THC butter. There are two specific cannabinoid receptors in humans and dogs, CB1 (primarily in central nervous system) and CB2 (peripheral tissues). In animals, following oral ingestion, clinical effects begin within 60 minutes. All of the neuropharmacologic mechanisms by which cannabinoids produce psychoactive effects have not been identified. However, CB1 activity is believed to be responsible for the majority of cannabinoid clinical effects. Highly lipid soluble, THC is distributed in fat, liver, brain, and renal tissue. Fifteen percent of THC is excreted into the urine and the rest is eliminated in the feces through biliary excretion. Clinical signs of canine intoxication include depression, hypersalivation, mydriasis, hypermetria, vomiting, urinary incontinence, tremors, hypothermia, and bradycardia. Higher dosages may additionally cause nystagmus, agitation, tachypnea, tachycardia, ataxia, hyperexcitability, and seizures. Treatment of marijuana ingestion in animals is largely supportive. Vital signs including temperature and heart rate and rhythm must be continually monitored. Stomach content and urine can be tested for cannabinoids. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry can be utilized for THC detection but usually may take several days and are not practical for initiation of therapy. Human urine drug-screening tests can be unreliable for confirmation of marijuana toxicosis in dogs owing to the interference of a large number of the metabolites in canine urine. False negatives may also arise if testing occurs too recently following THC ingestion. Thus, the use of human urine drug-screening tests in dogs remains controversial. No specific antidote presently exists for THC poisoning. Sedation with benzodiazepines may be necessary if dogs are severely agitated. Intravenous fluids may be employed to counter prolonged vomiting and to help control body temperature. Recently, the use of intralipid therapy to bind the highly lipophilic THC has been utilized to help reduce clinical signs. The majority of dogs experiencing intoxication after marijuana ingestion recover completely without sequellae. Differential diagnoses of canine THC toxicosis include human pharmaceuticals with central nervous system stimulatory effects, drugs with central nervous system depressant effects, macrolide parasiticides, xylitol, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
    Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 02/2013; 28(1):8-12. DOI:10.1053/j.tcam.2013.03.004 · 1.16 Impact Factor
  • Kevin T Fitzgerald, Alvin C Bronstein
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    ABSTRACT: Polyurethane adhesives are found in a large number of household products in the United States and are used for a variety of purposes. Several brands of these expanding wood glues (those containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate [MDI]) have the potential to form gastrointestinal (GI) foreign bodies if ingested. The ingested adhesive forms an expanding ball of glue in the esophagus and gastric lumen. This expansion is caused by a polymerization reaction using the heat, water, and gastric acids of the stomach. A firm mass is created that can be 4-8 times its original volume. As little as 2oz of glue have been reported to develop gastric foreign bodies. The obstructive mass is reported to form within minutes of ingestion of the adhesive. The foreign body can lead to esophageal impaction and obstruction, airway obstruction, gastric outflow obstruction, mucosal hemorrhage, ulceration, laceration, perforation of the esophageal and gastric linings, and death. Clinical signs following ingestion include anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, tachypnea, and abdominal distention and pain, and typically develop within 12 hours. Clinical signs may depend upon the size of the mass. If left untreated, perforation and rupture of the esophagus or stomach can occur. The glue mass does not stick to the GI mucosa and is not always detectable on abdominal palpation. Radiographs are recommended to confirm the presence of the "glue-ball" foreign body, and radiographic evidence of the obstruction may be seen as early as 4-6 hours following ingestion. Emesis is contraindicated owing to the risk of aspiration of the glue into the respiratory tree or the subsequent lodging of the expanding glue mass in the esophagus. Likewise, efforts to dilute the glue and prevent the formation of the foreign body through administration of liquids, activated charcoal, or bulk-forming products to push the foreign body through the GI tract have proven ineffective. Even endoscopy performed to remove the foreign body has been shown to be unreliable. The safest, most effective, and successful therapy is surgical intervention to remove the GI foreign body. If performed early enough, complete recovery of the animal can be expected. Differential diagnoses for polyurethane adhesive ingestion include any potential cause of GI obstruction. The public is largely unaware of the hazards that ingestion of this product may produce. Public education efforts are needed to inform pet owners about the hazards of these glues and the overall importance of providing our companion animals with safe, poison-free environments.
    Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 02/2013; 28(1):28-31. DOI:10.1053/j.tcam.2013.03.007 · 1.16 Impact Factor
  • Kevin T Fitzgerald, Alvin C Bronstein
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    ABSTRACT: The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 3-7% of US school-aged children exhibit attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall(®) (amphetamine dextroamphetamine) and a variety of brand names and generic versions of this combination are available by prescription to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Both immediate and sustained release products are used as are single agent amphetamine medication. Knowing the exact agent ingested can provide information of dose labeled and length of clinical effects. These drugs are used off label by college students for memory enhancement, test taking ability, and for study marathons. These agents are DEA Schedule II controlled substances with high potential for abuse. For humans with ADHD or narcolepsy, standard recommended dosage is 5-60mg daily. Amphetamine and its analogues stimulate the release of norepinephrine affecting both α- and β-adrenergic receptor sites. α-Adrenergic stimulation causes vasoconstriction and an increase in total peripheral resistance. β-Adrenergic receptor stimulation leads to an increase in heart rate, stroke volume, and skeletal muscle blood flow. Clinical signs of Adderall(®) overdose in humans and dogs include hyperactivity, hyperthermia, tachycardia, tachypnea, mydriasis, tremors, and seizures. In addition, Adderall intoxication in dogs has been reported to cause hyperthermia, hypoglycemia, hypersegmentation of neutrophils, and mild thrombocytopenia. Diagnosis can be confirmed by detecting amphetamine in stomach contents or vomitus, or by positive results obtained in urine tests for illicit drugs. Treatment is directed at controlling life-threatening central nervous system and cardiovascular signs. Seizures can be controlled with benzodiazepines, phenothiazines, pentobarbital, and propofol. Cardiac tachyarrhythmias can be managed with a β-blocker such as propranolol. Intravenous fluids counter the hyperthermia, assist in maintenance of renal function, and help promote the elimination of amphetamine and its analogues. Prognosis after poisoning with Adderall(®) depends upon the severity and duration of clinical signs at presentation. Differential diagnoses that should be considered in cases of suspected amphetamine overdose are any other agents that can cause central nervous system stimulation, tremors, and seizures. This article discusses our present understanding of Adderall(®) intoxication and examines 3 dogs presented to our practice after ingestion of large amounts of the drug.
    Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 02/2013; 28(1):2-7. DOI:10.1053/j.tcam.2013.03.002 · 1.16 Impact Factor
  • Kevin T Fitzgerald, Alvin C Bronstein
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    ABSTRACT: Many antidepressants inhibit serotonin or norepinephrine reuptake or both to achieve their clinical effect. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of antidepressants (SSRIs) includes citalopram, escitalopram (active enantiomer of citalopram), fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline. The SSRIs are as effective as tricyclic antidepressants in treatment of major depression with less significant side effects. As a result, they have become the largest class of medications prescribed to humans for depression. They are also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, alcoholism, obesity, migraines, and chronic pain. An SSRI (fluoxetine) has been approved for veterinary use in treatment of canine separation anxiety. SSRIs act specifically on synaptic serotonin concentrations by blocking its reuptake in the presynapse and increasing levels in the presynaptic membrane. Clinical signs of SSRI overdose result from excessive amounts of serotonin in the central nervous system. These signs include nausea, vomiting, mydriasis, hypersalivation, and hyperthermia. Clinical signs are dose dependent and higher dosages may result in the serotonin syndrome that manifests itself as ataxia, tremors, muscle rigidity, hyperthermia, diarrhea, and seizures. Current studies reveal no increase in appearance of any specific clinical signs of serotonin toxicity with regard to any SSRI medication. In people, citalopram has been reported to have an increased risk of electrocardiographic abnormalities. Diagnosis of SSRI poisoning is based on history, clinical signs, and response to therapy. No single clinical test is currently available to confirm SSRI toxicosis. The goals of treatment in this intoxication are to support the animal, prevent further absorption of the drug, support the central nervous system, control hyperthermia, and halt any seizure activity. The relative safety of the SSRIs in overdose despite the occurrence of serotonin syndrome makes them more desirable than other antidepressants. The prognosis in animals that receive treatment is excellent. In one retrospective study, there were no deaths in 313 SSRI-poisoned dogs. No characteristic or classic histopathologic lesions result from SSRI toxicosis. Differential diagnoses for SSRI overdose must include ingestions of other serotonergic medications such as phenylpiperidine opioids (fentanyl and tramadol), mirtazapine, buspirone, amitraz, and chlorpheniramine.
    Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 02/2013; 28(1):13-17. DOI:10.1053/j.tcam.2013.03.003 · 1.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. In March of 2011, an earthquake struck Japan causing a tsunami that resulted in a radiological release from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Surveillance for potential radiological and any iodine/iodide product exposures was initiated on the National Poison Data System (NPDS) to target public health messaging needs within the United States (US). Our objectives are to describe self-reported exposures to radiation, potassium iodide (KI) and other iodine/iodide products which occurred during the US federal response and discuss its public health impact. Methods. All calls to poison centers associated with the Japan incident were identified from March 11, 2011 to April 18, 2011 in NPDS. Exposure, demographic and health outcome information were collected. Calls about reported radiation exposures and KI or other iodine/iodide product ingestions were then categorized with regard to exposure likelihood based on follow-up information obtained from the PC where each call originated. Reported exposures were subsequently classified as probable exposures (high likelihood of exposure), probable non-exposures (low likelihood of exposure), and suspect exposure (unknown likelihood of exposure). Results. We identified 400 calls to PCs associated with the incident, with 340 information requests (no exposure reported) and 60 reported exposures. The majority (n = 194; 57%) of the information requests mentioned one or more substances. Radiation was inquired about most frequently (n = 88; 45%), followed by KI (n = 86; 44%) and other iodine/iodide products (n = 47; 24%). Of the 60 reported exposures, KI was reported most frequently (n = 25; 42%), followed by radiation (n = 22; 37%) and other iodine/iodide products (n = 13; 22%). Among reported KI exposures, most were classified as probable exposures (n = 24; 96%); one was a probable non-exposure. Among reported other iodine/iodide product exposures, most were probable exposures (n = 10, 77%) and the rest were suspect exposures (n = 3; 23%). The reported radiation exposures were classified as suspect exposures (n = 16, 73%) or probable non-exposures (n = 6; 27%). No radiation exposures were classified as probable exposures. A small number of the probable exposures to KI and other iodide/iodine products reported adverse signs or symptoms (n = 9; 26%). The majority of probable exposures had no adverse outcomes (n = 28; 82%). These data identified a potential public health information gap regarding KI and other iodine/iodide products which was then addressed through public health messaging activities. Conclusion. During the Japan incident response, surveillance activities using NPDS identified KI and other iodine/iodide products as potential public health concerns within the US, which guided CDC's public health messaging and communication activities. Regional PCs can provide timely and additional information during a public health emergency to enhance data collected from surveillance activities, which in turn can be used to inform public health decision-making.
    Clinical Toxicology 10/2012; 51(1). DOI:10.3109/15563650.2012.732701 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol homologs have been increasingly abused since their introduction in 2004. Such products were used as a "legal high" for those wishing to experience cannabinoid effects while evading basic drugs-of-abuse testing. We describe a series of exposures to products marketed as synthetic cannabinoids to better characterize the clinical effects in these patients. All Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol homolog exposures reported to the National Poison Data System between January 1, 2010, and October 1, 2010, were extracted with National Poison Data System generic codes and product codes for Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol homologs. Only cases involving a single-agent exposure to Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol homologs as the major category were analyzed. Descriptive statistics were generated for demographic data, management site, products involved, symptoms, duration of effects, treatments, and severity of clinical effects. During the 9-month study period, there were 1,898 exposures to Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol homologs; 1,353 of these cases were single-agent exposures. The mean age was 22.5 years (SD 8.86 years). Most cases were reported in men (n=1,005; 74.3%). The majority of exposures were acute (88.2%; n=1,193). The most common clinical effect was tachycardia (37.7%; n=510). Seizures were reported in 52 patients (3.8%). The majority of clinical effects lasted for fewer than 8 hours (n=711; 78.4%) and resulted in 1,011 non-life-threatening clinical effects (92.9%). The most common therapeutic intervention was intravenous fluids (n=343; 25.3%). There was 1 death (0.1%). The majority of cases were in young men intentionally abusing spice. Most exposures resulted in non-life-threatening effects not requiring treatment, although a minority of exposures resulted in more severe effects, including seizures.
    Annals of emergency medicine 05/2012; 60(4):435-8. DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.03.007 · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to summarize and assess economic evaluations of poison centers (PCs) from the perspectives of society, the payer, and the healthcare system. A systematic review was performed to identify complete economic evaluations regardless of the language or publication status. Two reviewers evaluated the abstracts for eligibility, extracted the data, and assessed the study quality using a standardized tool. In total, 422 non-duplicated studies were retrieved, but only nine met the eligibility criteria. Five of the eligible studies were published in the 1990s, and four were published in the 2000s. Six studies met at least seven of ten quality criteria. In all studies, the presence of PCs was compared with a scenario of their absence. Eight studies used cost-benefit analyses and one used a cost-effectiveness approach. The cost-benefit ratios ranged from 0.76 to 7.67, which indicates that each United States dollar (USD) spent on poison centers can save almost 8 USD on medical spending. A cost-effectiveness analysis showed that each successful outcome achieved by a PC avoids a minimum of 12,000 USD to 56,000 USD in other healthcare spending. The data in our review show that PCs are economically viable. PCs improve the efficiency of healthcare expenditure and contribute to the sustainability of the healthcare system. An investment in PCs is a rational public health policy approach that contrasts the current trend of reducing spending on PCs.
    International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 04/2012; 28(2):86-92. DOI:10.1017/S0266462312000116 · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This is the 28th Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' (AAPCC) National Poison Data System (NPDS). All US poison centers upload case data automatically with a median time interval of 19.0 [11.9, 40.6] (median [25%, 75%]) minutes, creating a near real-time national exposure and information database and surveillance system. We analyzed the case data tabulating specific indices from NPDS. The methodology was similar to that of previous years. Where changes were introduced, the differences are identified. Poison center cases with medical outcomes of death were evaluated by a team of 33 medical and clinical toxicologist reviewers using an ordinal scale of 1 (Undoubtedly responsible) - 6 (Unknown) to determine Relative Contribution to Fatality (RCF) of the exposure to the death. In 2010, 3,952,772 closed encounters were logged by NPDS: 2,384,825, human exposures, 94,823 animal exposures, 1,466,253 information calls, 6537 human confirmed nonexposures, and 334 animal confirmed nonexposures. Total encounters showed a 7.7% decline from 2009 while health care facility calls increased by 2.7%. Human exposures with more serious outcomes (minor, moderate, major or death) increased 4.5% while those with less serious outcomes (all other medical outcome categories) decreased 5.9%. All information calls decreased 12.6% and health care facility (HCF) information calls decreased 13.6%, Drug ID calls decreased 10.9%, and human exposures decreased 3.8%. The top 5 substance classes most frequently involved in all human exposures were analgesics (11.5%), cosmetics/personal care products (7.7%), household cleaning substances (7.3%), sedatives/hypnotics/ antipsychotics (6.0%), and foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous (4.2%). Analgesic exposures as a class increased the most rapidly by 32.8% over the last decade. The top f ve most common exposures in children age 5 years or less were cosmetics/personal care products (13.2%), analgesics (9.4%), household cleaning substances (9.2%), foreign bodies/toys/miscellaneous (7.2%), and topical preparations (6.8%). THC homolog and designer amphetamine ("Bath Salts") exposures were identified as emerging public health threats. Drug identification requests comprised 64.3% of all information calls. NPDS documented 1730 human exposures resulting in death with 1146 human fatalities judged related with an RCF of 1-Undoubtedly responsible, 2-Probably responsible, or 3-Contributory. These data support the continued value of poison center expertise and need for specialized medical toxicology information to manage the more severe exposures, despite a decrease in calls involving less severe exposures. Unintentional and intentional exposures continue to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the US. The near real-time, always current status of NPDS represents a national public health resource to collect and monitor US exposure cases and information calls. The continuing mission of NPDS is to provide a nationwide infrastructure for public health surveillance for all types of exposures, public health event identification, resilience response and situational awareness tracking. NPDS is a model system for the nation and global public health.
    Clinical Toxicology 12/2011; 49(10):910-41. DOI:10.3109/15563650.2011.635149 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The National Poison Data System (NPDS) is a national near-real-time surveillance system that improves situational awareness for chemical and poison exposures, according to data from US poison centers. NPDS is the successor to the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use these data, which are owned and managed by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, to improve public health surveillance for chemical and poison exposures and associated illness, identify early markers of chemical events, and enhance situational awareness during outbreaks. Information recorded in this database is from self-reported calls from the public or health care professionals. In 2009, NPDS detected 22 events of public health significance and CDC used the system to monitor several multistate outbreaks. One of the limitations of the system is that exposures do not necessarily represent a poisoning. Incorporating NPDS data into the public health surveillance network and subsequently using NPDS to rapidly identify chemical and poison exposures exemplifies the importance of the poison centers and NPDS to public health surveillance. This integration provides the opportunity to improve the public health response to chemical and poison exposures, minimizes morbidity and mortality, and serves as an important step forward in surveillance technology and integration.
    Annals of emergency medicine 09/2011; 59(1):56-61. DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2011.08.004 · 4.33 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
128.83 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012–2014
    • University of Colorado
      • Department of Emergency Medicine
      Denver, Colorado, United States
    • Denver Health and Hospital Authority
      Denver, Colorado, United States
  • 2011–2013
    • University of Colorado Hospital
      Denver, Colorado, United States