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Walsh, Simone and Lyons, Suzi (2008) National Poisons Information Centre – 2007 report. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 27, Autumn 2008 , pp. 8-9.

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The National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC), located in Beaumont Hospital, provides a national telephone information service on the toxicity, features and management of cases of poisoning. This 24-hour service is offered mainly to doctors and other health care professionals. Queries are dealt with by poisons information officers at the Centre between 8 am and 10 pm, while out-of-hours calls are automatically diverted to the UK National Poisons Information Service (NPIS).

 According to its annual report,1 NPIC received 11,011 enquiries in 2007, a decrease of 7.5% on the 2006 figure. Of these, 2,459 were dealt with by NIPS in the UK and are not included in the analysis presented in the report. Of the 8,552 calls answered by NPIC, 8,277 (96.8%) were about human toxicology. The remaining calls concerned poisoning in animals (1.2%) and non-emergency requests for information (2.0%).
 
Of the 8,552 calls dealt with by NPIC, the highest proportion were from the HSE Eastern Region (28.4%), of which 79.8% were from Dublin city and county.
 
The most frequent enquiries were from hospitals (35.1%), general practitioners (34.9%) and members of the public (23.0%). The other sources of enquiries were community pharmacists, carers, vets, industry/manufacturers, schools, emergency services, media, and government agencies. The increased use by Irish emergency departments of TOXBASE, the online clinical toxicology database of the UK NPIS, is reflected in a 2.2% drop in the proportion of enquiries from hospitals since last year.
 
More than half of the enquiries about cases of poisoning in humans concerned children under 10 years of age (Table 1). The main agents involved in these cases were household products, cosmetics and personal hygiene products, and plants. The majority (88.5%) of all human poisoning incidents occurred in the home.
 
 
Table 1   Age and gender of human cases
Age group
Gender
 
Total
%
 
Male            
Female
Unknown
 
 
<1
159
152
114
425
5.1
1–4
1921
1588
66
3575
43.2
5–9
208
160
7
375
4.5
10–14
80
109
4
193
2.3
15–19
136
241
3
380
4.6
20–49
706
726
9
1441
17.4
50–69
159
206
3
368
4.4
­>70
91
112
1
204
2.5
Unknown
434
499
383
1316
15.9
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
3894
3793
590
8277
 
 The enquiries about human toxicology involved 13,538 agents, mainly drugs, industrial chemicals and household products. The most common enquiry concerned substances containing paracetamol (1,082). Alcohol was next most common (376), and in the majority of cases was ingested with other substances. The third most common agent was ibuprofen (363).  Only a small proportion of cases (395, 4.8%) were followed up. Although most recovered completely, 21 cases suffered adverse effects, a further 17 cases died, while the outcome of 68 cases could not be determined. (Simone Walsh and Suzi Lyons)
 
For a copy of this report, see the NPIC website at www.poisons.ie, or telephone 01 837 9964 or 01 809 2566.
 
1. Poisons Information Centre of Ireland (2008) Annual report 2007. Dublin: NPIC.
Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 27, Autumn 2008
Date:2008
Page Range:pp. 8-9
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 27, Autumn 2008
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Drug use > Drug intoxication > Poisoning (overdose)

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