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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Nov;62(5):573-81.

Legislation restricting paracetamol sales and patterns of self-harm and death from paracetamol-containing preparations in Scotland.

Author information

1
NPIS Edinburgh (Scottish Poisons Information Bureau), Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. nick.bateman@luht.scot.nhs.uk

Abstract

AIMS:

To describe how changes in legislation to restrict paracetamol sales have affected overdose discharges and death associated with the drug in Scotland.

METHODS:

A descriptive analysis of routine death and hospital discharge data for the entire Scottish population between 1995 and 2004. Patients in Scotland participated who were discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of poisoning; deaths in Scotland from diagnosis of poisoning 1995-2003 were also analysed. Outcome measures were changes in mortality and overdose due to poisoning involving paracetamol. A comparison was made of in-hospital and out-of-hospital mortality in fatalities involving paracetamol.

RESULTS:

The majority of paracetamol-associated deaths were due to co-proxamol. Deaths associated with paracetamol alone or with ethanol occurred principally in hospital and were a minority of deaths overall. The proportion of in-hospital deaths attributed to paracetamol increased (post/pre ratio 1.347; 95% confidence interval 1.076, 1.639; P = 0.013). Overall numbers of cases discharged with poisoning fell. The proportion of these involving paracetamol in any form increased significantly in all groups except young men aged 10 to <20 years.

CONCLUSIONS:

Legislation has not reduced mortality or proportional use of paracetamol in overdose, both of which appear to have increased in Scotland since pack-size limitations. Other approaches are necessary to reduce the death rate from overdoses involving paracetamol.

PMID:
17061964
PMCID:
PMC1885177
DOI:
10.1111/j.1365-2125.2006.02668.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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