Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Poisoning by prescription drugs on the rise

Date:
April 7, 2010
Source:
Elsevier Health Sciences
Summary:
On the rise for more than 15 years, poisoning is now the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. Unintentional poisoning has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of unintentional injury death among people 35. In a new study, researchers found that hospitalizations for poisoning by prescription opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers in the US have increased by 65 percent from 1999 to 2006.

Poisoning is now the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. While several recent high-profile Hollywood celebrity cases have brought the problem to public attention, the rates of unintentional poisoning deaths have been on the rise for more than 15 years, and in fact, unintentional poisoning has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of unintentional injury death among people 35-54 years of age.

Related Articles


In a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers found that hospitalizations for poisoning by prescription opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers in the U.S. have increased by 65% from 1999 to 2006.

"Deaths and hospitalizations associated with prescription drug misuse have reached epidemic proportions," said the study's lead author, Jeffrey H. Coben, MD, of the West Virginia University School of Medicine. "It is essential that health care providers, pharmacists, insurance providers, state and federal agencies, and the general public all work together to address this crisis. Prescription medications are just as powerful and dangerous as other notorious street drugs, and we need to ensure people are aware of these dangers and that treatment services are available for those with substance abuse problems."

In the first comprehensive examination of nationwide hospitalizations associated with these prescription medications, researchers examined data gathered from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), which contains records for approximately 8 million hospitalizations per year. By using standard diagnosis codes from the ICD-9-CM, the authors extracted from the NIS all poisonings by drugs, medicinal, and biological substances reported from 1999-2006, and further categorized the specific types of drugs in each case. It was also possible to determine whether the poisoning was diagnosed as intentional, unintentional or undetermined.

Dr. Coben believes that while the data reveals a fast-growing problem, there's an urgent need for more in-depth research on this wave of injuries and deaths. Writing in the article, he said, "Interviews with survivors could provide important additional details regarding the pathways to abuse of these drugs, the methods used to obtain the medications, the sequencing and combination of drugs that result in overdose, and the immediate precursors to these serious events. The association between hospitalization for prescription opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers and subsequent morbidity and mortality is another area in need of further research."

While the majority of hospitalized poisonings are classified as unintentional, substantial increases were also demonstrated for intentional overdoses associated with these drugs, likely reflecting their widespread availability in community settings.

From 1999-2006, total estimated hospitalizations in the U.S. for poisoning by prescription opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers increased by 65%; while unintentional poisonings by these drugs increased by 37%. In comparison, during this same period, hospitalizations for poisoning by other drugs, medicinal and biological substances increased by 33%, while all other hospitalizations increased by just over 11%. Unintentional poisonings by other substances increased by 21%. Intentional poisonings from prescription opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers rose by a total of 130% compared to a 53% increase in intentional poisonings from other substances.

The largest percentage increase in hospitalizations for poisoning for a specific drug was observed for methadone (400%). Poisonings by benzodiazepines increased 39%. Hospitalizations for poisoning by barbiturates actually decreased 41%, as did hospitalizations for poisoning by antidepressants (a decrease of 13%).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeffrey H. Coben, Stephen M. Davis, Paul M. Furbee, Rosanna D. Sikora, Roger D. Tillotson, Robert M. Bossarte. Hospitalizations for Poisoning by Prescription Opioids, Sedatives, and Tranquilizers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2010; 38 (5) DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.01.022

Cite This Page:

Elsevier Health Sciences. "Poisoning by prescription drugs on the rise." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406073637.htm>.
Elsevier Health Sciences. (2010, April 7). Poisoning by prescription drugs on the rise. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406073637.htm
Elsevier Health Sciences. "Poisoning by prescription drugs on the rise." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100406073637.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins