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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2011 Aug 9;131(15):1424-8. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.10.0531.

[Living conditions and pattern of acute poisonings in Oslo].

[Article in Norwegian]

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  • 1Avdeling for atferdsfag, Institutt for medisinske basalfag, Universitetet i Oslo, Norway.



Hospitalized patients with acute poisoning come from all classes of society. The relationship between living conditions and pattern of poisoning is, however, unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the connection between living conditions in Oslo and the pattern of acute poisonings, measured by incidence, main toxic agents and intention.


A one-year multi-centre study with prospective inclusion of all patients ≥ 18 years of age with a registered address in Oslo admitted to an Oslo hospital with acute poisoning from 1 April 2003 through 31 March 2004. The 15 city districts were grouped into three, according to the official living conditions index in Oslo: city district group 1 (best living conditions), city district group 2 (average living conditions) and city district group 3 (most difficult living conditions).


Of a total of 947 patients admitted with acute poisoning as their main diagnosis in the study period, 691 were included in the study, 660 of whom had self-inflicted poisoning. In city district group 3, the annual incidence of acute poisonings was 2.14 per 1000 inhabitants, significantly higher than city district group 2, with 1.50 (p < 0.001), and city district group 1, with 1.36 (p < 0.001). Measured as intention assessed by the treating physician, suicidal and drug related poisonings and those induced by a "cry for help" were more common in city district group 3 (0.74, 0.59 and 0.74 per 1000 inhabitants, respectively) than in city district group 2 (0.62, 0.40 and 0.41, respectively) and city district group 1 (0.52, 0.32 and 0.45, respectively). The main toxic agents were predominantly benzodiazepines (20 %), ethanol (18 %) and paracetamol (12 %). There were no statistically significant differences in the distribution of main toxic agents between the city district groups.


The findings show a social gradient, with the highest incidence of poisonings in the city district group with the most difficult living conditions.

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