Goyal RK, Ajmera MR, Davis KL. Recent trends in emergency department visits resulting from unintentional overdose of non-opioid analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics in the United States. Poster presented at the 2017 ISPOR 22nd Annual International Meeting; May 23, 2017. Boston, MA. [abstract] Value Health. 2017 May; 20(5):A231.

OBJECTIVES: Drug-related overdoses result in >1 million emergency department (ED) visits in the United States (US) annually. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken significant steps in recent years to increase awareness about medication safety and reduce risks associated with unintentional drug overdoses. To assess the impact of FDA initiatives, we explored recent trends in ED visits resulting from unintentional drug overdoses, with a particular focus on non-opioid analgesic, antipyretic, and antirheumatic (NOAAA) drugs.

METHODS: Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), a nationally representative annual sample of hospital outpatient and ED visits in the US, were analyzed for years 2002-2013. ED visits associated with overdose/poisoning of NOAAA drugs were identified using applicable ICD-9-CM diagnosis and cause of injury codes. Unintentional nature of overdose/poisoning was determined using the intent data collected in NHAMCS. Data were weighted to produce national estimates. Three-year blocks of data were combined into four observation periods (2002-2004, 2005-2007, 2008-2010, and 2011-2013). The rates of ED visits due to unintentional overdoses of NOAAA drugs were assessed per 1,000 all-cause ED visits.

Total numbers of ED visits resulting from unintentional overdoses of NOAAA drugs during the observation periods 2002-2004, 2005-2007, 2008-2010, and 2011-2013 were 144,946, 146,730, 170,559, and 144,360, respectively. The rate of ED visits for unintentional overdoses of NOAAA drugs was 0.43 per 1,000 ED visits during 2002-2004, which remained fairly constant through periods 2005-2007 (0.42 per 1,000 ED visits) and 2008-2010 (0.44 per 1,000 ED visits), but decreased to 0.36 visits per 1,000 ED visits in the most recent period 2010-2013, representing a relative decrease of 18.2%.

CONCLUSIONS: This analysis demonstrated a decline in the rate of ED visits for unintentional NOAAA drug overdoses in recent years. These findings suggest that FDA initiatives towards improving consumer awareness and medication safety may be effective.

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