Document Detail

Consumption, overdose and death from analgesics during a period of over-the-counter availability of paracetamol in Denmark.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2351928     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
During the period 1978-1986, annual sales of paracetamol in Denmark increased from 1 million defined daily doses (DDD) (3 g) to 47 million DDD, while the number of admissions and deaths from overdose increased from 26 to 202 and from 1 to 3-4, respectively. The corresponding figures for salicylates are a decrease in sales from 113 to 94 million DDD, an increase in admissions from 282 to 595, and an increase in deaths from 5 to 22. From 1 January 1984 paracetamol became available on an over-the-counter basis. The figures for 1983 and 1984 were an increase in sales from 14 to 28 million DDD, an increase in admissions from 114 to 198, and an increase in deaths from 0 to 4. The number of deaths from opioid overdose remained constant at a value of about fifty during this period, the mortality per dose being about 20-fold higher than for paracetamol and salicylates. Dextropropoxyphene-related deaths increased twofold to 121 in 1986, with unchanged sales figures. A campaign launched by the National Board of Health resulted in a reduction in the number of deaths from dextropropoxyphene to 66 in 1987. The main effect of over-the-counter release of paracetamol was a dramatic increase in sales, without the epidemic of deaths observed a decade ago in the UK. It is suggested that the higher mortality of paracetamol poisonings in the UK compared to Denmark is related to the dextropropoxyphene content of the combination product, which is not available in Denmark. From an epidemiological toxicological viewpoint such combinations are not justified.
P Ott; K Dalhoff; P B Hansen; S Loft; H E Poulsen
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of internal medicine     Volume:  227     ISSN:  0954-6820     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Intern. Med.     Publication Date:  1990 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1990-07-17     Completed Date:  1990-07-17     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8904841     Medline TA:  J Intern Med     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  423-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Medicine A, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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MeSH Terms
Acetaminophen / poisoning*
Analgesics / poisoning*
Dextropropoxyphene / poisoning
Drug Utilization
Narcotics / poisoning
Nonprescription Drugs
Overdose / epidemiology,  mortality
Salicylates / poisoning
Suicide / statistics & numerical data
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Analgesics; 0/Narcotics; 0/Nonprescription Drugs; 0/Salicylates; 103-90-2/Acetaminophen; 469-62-5/Dextropropoxyphene

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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