Self-poisoning: current trends and practice in a U.K. teaching hospital

Ronald Cook, Rebecca Allcock, Michael Johnston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    50 Citations (Scopus)


    The epidemiology of deliberate self-poisoning presentations to the emergency department (ED) of Ninewells Hospital was reviewed over a six-month period. The results were related to previously published Scottish data. During the six month period, 530 patients presented (2.1% of total). There was a female preponderance with over 65% of patients aged less than 40 years. Patients lived more commonly in areas of higher deprivation. The drugs most commonly involved were paracetamol (39.25%) and antidepressants (35.1%). Of the presentatons 80.2% required no treatment apart from basic observations. Only 1.51% received activated charcoal and no gastric lavages were performed. Of the presentations, 75.6% were discharged after observation in the ED, 8.9% were admitted to a psychiatric hospital and 5.5% were admitted to general medicine department. Deliberate self-poisoning continues to be a major cause of hospital admissions in Scotland. In Tayside, it is predominantly a problem of the young and socially deprived. Consistent with recent national trends, paracetamol was the most common drug relating to overdose. The use of an ED observation ward is supported as a vast majority of patients are admitted for less than 24 hours and require no active treatment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-40
    Number of pages4
    JournalClinical Medicine - Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


    • Adolescent
    • Adult
    • Aged
    • Aged, 80 and over
    • Antidepressive Agents
    • Emergency Service, Hospital
    • Female
    • Hospitals, Teaching
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Poisoning
    • Prospective Studies
    • Scotland


    Dive into the research topics of 'Self-poisoning: current trends and practice in a U.K. teaching hospital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this