Tags: otc | drug | poison | overdose

Study: OTC Drug Abuse Underestimated

Monday, 08 Oct 2012 04:57 PM


Over-counter-counter medications are just as likely to cause overdoses and poisonings as prescription drugs, according to a new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The findings, published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology, found about half of cases involving drug abuses may be due to nonprescription medications, including sleeping aids.
"Much of the current concerns about prescription medication abuse have centered on opioids, and while opioids are certainly of greater concern in regard to morbidity and mortality related to overdose, the data reported here suggest that emphasis should also be placed on sleeping pills,” said lead researcher Dr. Timothy Wiegand.
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“Our data also suggest that while medication abuse is a major problem, restricting our concerns to prescription drug abuse fails to acknowledge the major contribution of nonprescription agents to healthcare resource utilization."
For the study, Wiegand and his colleagues analyzed the data from the Toxicology Investigators Consortium — a registry used to identify poisoning trends involving 28 medical institutions in the U.S.
They found that of the 10,392 cases entered into the registry, 53 percent involved patients in emergency departments. The most common reason was for pharmaceutical overdoses, which occurred in 48 percent of patients — a combination of intentional overdoses in 37 percent of patients and unintentional in 11 percent of patients. Sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, non-opioid pain relievers (such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen), opioid pain relievers and antidepressants were the most common medications accounting for the consultation.
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In addition, there were 35 deaths from medication overdose in 2011, 10 of which were attributed to opioids and eight to non-opioid pain relievers. The researchers also found cases tied to designer drugs, such as psychoactive "bath salts" and synthetic cannabinoids, increased substantially from 2010 to 2011.




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Nonprescription meds are just as likely to cause overdoses and poisonings as those prescribed by a doctor.
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Monday, 08 Oct 2012 04:57 PM
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