News ID: 217970
Published: 0509 GMT July 09, 2018

Poisoning remains significant health problem in Australia

Poisoning remains significant health problem in Australia

A new study has revealed that poisoning still presents a significant concern for the health and wellbeing of Australians.

Researchers from the nation's Poisons Information Centers, led by poisons information specialist Alanna Huynh, used data from call records to compile a study based on age group, circumstances of exposure, and types of substance involved, wrote.

There were 164,363 poison exposure events in 2015, of which 64.4 percent were unintentional, 18.1 percent were medication error and 10.7 percent were deliberate self-poisoning.

"Most exposures were of 20-74 year-old adults, or 1-4 year-old toddlers," they said, however the group with the highest rate of hospitalization is adolescents.

Almost half of poisoning cases in adolescents were deliberate, with over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol being used, as well as antidepressants and antipsychotics, with researchers suggesting more restricted access to medications for this age group.

However the most common substances involved in poisonings, at around 10 percent of all cases, were household cleaners, with these products being of particular risk to infants and toddlers.

Researchers also found that the scheduling of medications made a difference to the likelihood of them being involved in poisonings.

Medications assigned to the schedule eight category, which dictates stringent criteria for prescribing, storage and dispensing, were the least often implicated in both unintentional and deliberate poisonings.

“Education, toxico-vigilance, and policy effectiveness research,” were suggested by researchers as possible preventative activities.

"They could be highly cost-effective approaches to reducing poisoning rates."




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