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Home > The impact of guidance on the supply of codeine-containing products on their use in intentional drug overdose.

Birchall, Emma and Perry, Ivan J and Corcoran, Paul and Daly, Caroline and Griffin, Eve (2021) The impact of guidance on the supply of codeine-containing products on their use in intentional drug overdose. European Journal of Public Health, Early online, . doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckab082.

External website: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/advance-article/do...

BACKGROUND: Concerns about the misuse of codeine led to the introduction of guidance restricting the supply of over-the-counter (OTC) codeine-containing products in Ireland in 2010. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of this guidance on the national rate of hospital-presenting self-harm involving codeine-related intentional drug overdose (IDO).

METHODS: Presentations involving IDO to Irish general hospitals between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2013, as recorded by the National Self-Harm Registry Ireland, were analyzed. Event-based rates per 100 000 were calculated using national population data. Poisson regression models were used to assess rate changes between pre- and post-guidance periods and to calculate excess presentations.

RESULTS: Between January 2007 and December 2013, a total of 57 759 IDOs were recorded, with 4789 (8.3%) involving a codeine-containing product. The rate of codeine-related IDOs was 20% lower in the period following implementation of the guidance (incidence rate ratio: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.75 to 0.85), representing a total of 509 (95% CI: -624, -387) fewer codeine-related IDOs in that period. Reductions were observed across all ages and were more pronounced for females (0.76, 0.71 to 0.82) than males (0.87, 0.79 to 0.97). The rate of IDOs involving other drugs decreased by 3% in the same period (0.97, 0.95 to 0.98).

CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that the rate of codeine-related IDOs was significantly lower in the period following the implementation of the guidance. There is a large body of evidence supporting the restriction of potentially harmful medication as an effective strategy in suicide prevention.


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