Home > Deliberate self-poisoning in an Irish county hospital.

McMahon, GT and McGarry, Kathryn (2001) Deliberate self-poisoning in an Irish county hospital. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 170, (2), pp. 94-97.

BACKGROUND: In 1997, 433 people committed suicide in Ireland, one-quarter of whom were less than 24 years of age.

AIM: To determine demographics, agent choice and source, suicidality and follow-up care of deliberate self-poisoning patients.

METHOD: Details of 111 patients admitted to one hospital in 1997 following drug overdose were studied retrospectively. Eleven had been accidental ingestions, the remaining 100 were deliberate self-poisoning.

RESULTS: Men accounted for 38% of the presentations and were more likely to have suicidal intent than women. An average of 2.3 different agents were used. Paracetamol was taken by 37%, hypnotics/anxiolytics by 33% and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories by 17%. Alcohol was consumed synchronously by 51% and 17% fulfilled criteria for alcohol dependency. One-third of patients were clinically depressed. All six patients requiring ventilation had consumed a combination of tricyclic antidepressants and alcohol. There were no deaths.

CONCLUSION: Deliberate self-poisoning remains a significant problem. Paracetamol and alcohol use are particularly marked in this population. The combination of tricyclic antidepressant drugs and alcohol were the most dangerous.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Article
Drug Type
Alcohol, Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction
Page Range
pp. 94-97
Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland
Accession Number
HRB 4039 (Not in collection)

Click here to request a copy of this literature (must be logged in)

Repository Staff Only: item control page