Home > ‘Over the counter’ (OTC) opiate abuse treatment.

Thekiso, Thekiso B. and Farren, Conor Kevin (2010) ‘Over the counter’ (OTC) opiate abuse treatment. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 27 (4). pp. 189-191.

Objectives: Over the counter (OTC) medication abuse is an increasing public health concern. We studied the clinical profiles, treatment and prevalence of patients admitted with OTC opiate abuse.

Method: Using a specially designed demographic form, the records of patients admitted to St. Patrick’s Hospital, a 280 bed inpatient mental health and addiction treatment facility in Dublin, with a diagnosis of harmful OTC opiate abuse or opiate dependency as defined in ICD-10 were reviewed retrospectively. All patients diagnosed with OTC opiate abuse (ICD F11.1) or dependency (ICD F11.2) on admission to our centre were included in the study. Patients with a diagnosis of primary illicit opiate misuse were excluded.

Results: Approximately 1% (n=20) of inpatients admitted in a year were diagnosed with OTC opiate abuse. The average daily codeine intake was 261.0 mg per person. Some 75% percent (n=15) of the inpatients experienced OTC opiate withdrawal and were treated with protocol driven withdrawal regimes for an average of 16.10 days. The female: male ratio was nearly 2:1 with an average age of 49.2 years. Patients tended to have co-morbid psychiatric (n=19, 95%), physical (n=17, 85%) and polysubstance (n=13, 65%) illness.

Conclusions: OTC opiate abuse is a significant problem which is largely covert in nature with serious co-morbidity and frequent complications including withdrawal symptoms which require treatment. Results of this study suggest that further research is warranted in this area.


Item Type:Article
Page Range:pp. 189-191
Publisher:Medmedia Group
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Drugs and alcohol substance by legal status > Over the counter drug (medicine / medication)
HJ Treatment method > Drugs and alcohol disorder treatment method
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Risk and protective factors > risk factors
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol related disorder > Dual diagnosis (comorbidity)
B Drugs and alcohol substances > Opioids (opiates)
B Drugs and alcohol substances > Opioids (opiates) > Codeine

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