Acute drug poisonings leading to hospitalization

Charlotte Uggerhøj Andersen*, Lars Peter Nielsen, Jørn Munkhof Møller, Anne Estrup Olesen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Knowledge about current trends and epidemiology in poisonings is important to maintain quality in diagnostics, treatment and prevention. We performed a cross-sectional study of all cases (n = 261) admitted with drug poisoning to Aalborg University Hospital during 1 year in 2017–2018. Median age was 30 (22–49) years, and 58% were female. Fifty percent were suicide attempts. In most cases, involved drugs were identified by history taking; blood analysis barely revealed any additional paracetamol and salicylicate poisonings. Drugs prescribed to the patient or available over the counter were involved in nearly two thirds of cases. Weak analgesics dominated by paracetamol (n = 91, 35%) was the most frequently involved group of drugs followed by opioids and benzodiazepines. Gender differences were observed with respect to involvement of weak analgesics and central stimulants. A higher prevalence of unidentified involved drugs was observed in 26 cases (10%) in which the length of admission exceeded 2 days and/or intensive care was needed. No deaths, cardiac arrhythmias or physical complications occurred. Thus, current handling of the acute poisoning seems effective in most cases. However, a more tailored use of blood analyses including a toxicological screen in selected cases may represent an opportunity for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesBasic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
Pages (from-to)328-336
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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