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Pharmacopsychiatry

The prognostic impact of psychotropic drugs in intentional drug overdose.


PMID 19308878

Abstract

Psychotropic drugs belong to the drugs most frequently involved in intentional drug overdose (IDO). Few studies have explored their prognostic impact during hospitalisation for IDO. In order to assess which types of psychotropic drugs ingested during IDOs were associated with an increased morbidity, a cohort study included 1,974 patients consecutively hospitalised for IDO. IDOs were categorised as serious if associated with one of the following criteria: death, hospitalisation longer than 48 h, respiratory support, vasopressive drugs, cardiac massage or dialysis. Nearly all the patients ingested psychotropic medications during the IDO (88.4%), most often benzodiazepines (71.6%). Serious IDO was associated with tricyclics (OR 5.7; 95% CI 3.3-9.8), lithium (OR 4.3; 95% CI 1.6-11.6), carbamates (OR 2.7; 95% CI 1.8-4), anticonvulsants (OR 2.4: 95% CI 1.4-4.3), first-generation antipsychotics (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.7-3.5) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1-2.3). Some drugs may be dangerous because of low toxic doses; hence, prescriptions of short duration may be recommended. Moreover, for safety reasons, prescribers may prefer SSRIs to tricyclics and benzodiazepines to carbamates or phenothiazines.

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