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J R Soc Med. 1986 February; 79(2): 74–75.
PMCID: PMC1290186

Trends in the severity of self-poisoning.


Of 2947 patients admitted to a district general hospital over an 11-year period for the management of self-poisoning, 148 (5%) required intensive care unit (ICU) treatment. There was a significant increase in the number of self-poisonings admitted each year, whereas the number requiring ICU admission did not change. Therefore the proportion of patients requiring ICU admission fell significantly over the study period (P less than 0.0005). Of 898 patients admitted from 1973 to 1977, 62 (6.9%) were treated in ICU. Of 2049 patients admitted from 1978 to 1983, 86 (4.2%) required ICU treatment. It is felt that this trend is explained by a rise in parasuicidal self-poisonings. The impact of change in drug availability is evident in the significant reduction in ingestion of sedative barbiturates.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Graham JD, Hitchens RA, Marshall RW, Mitchell GM. Self poisoning--A decennial survey from Cardiff. Public Health. 1979 Jul;93(4):223–229. [PubMed]
  • Myers JB, Smith AJ, Elliott RL, MacAskill P. Self-poisoning with drugs: a 3 1/2-year study in Newcastle, NSW. Med J Aust. 1981 Oct 17;2(8):402–405. [PubMed]
  • Hadden DS. Drug overdosage: a study at the accident and emergency department of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Ulster Med J. 1978;47(2):165–170. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Murphy GJ, McAleer JJ, O'Connor FA. Drug overdoses--a three year study at Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry. Ulster Med J. 1984;53(2):131–139. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Heath A, Selander D. Self-poisoning treated in the ICU. Acta Med Scand. 1979;206(1-2):51–54. [PubMed]
  • Oksa H, Pitkäjärvi T, Koskelainen J, Ruosteenoja R, Kataja M. Self-poisoning patients in an intensive care unit. Ann Clin Res. 1981 Apr;13(2):96–101. [PubMed]
  • Proudfoot AT, Park J. Changing pattern of drugs used for self-poisoning. Br Med J. 1978 Jan 14;1(6105):90–93. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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