Clinical pattern of poisoning among patients declared as taking novel recreational drugs
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Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Toxicology, Toxicology Unit)
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Radiology)
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Toxicology, Poison Information Centre)
Online publication date: 2020-04-29
Corresponding author
Anna Piekarska-Wijatkowska   

Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Department of Toxicology, Poison Information Centre, św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(4):445-55
Objectives: Intoxication with novel psychoactive drugs poses a significant challenge for medicine due to diagnostic difficulties, complex clinical patterns resulting from the polyethiology of poisoning, and the risk of fatal complications. Material and Methods: The authors of the present work have made a retrospective review of medical records of the patients hospitalized at the Toxicology Unit (TU), diagnosed with poisoning by novel recreational drugs. Results: In 2008–2013, 576 patients diagnosed with that type of poisoning were admitted to the TU. Of those, 192 (33.3%) patients were positive for ethanol in addition to the most popular toxins found in the material collected from the patients, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (50 [8.6%] patients) and amphetamine (35 [6.1%] patients). The most frequent clinical symptoms observed on admission were: anxiety (433 [75.1%] patients), agitation (275 [47.7%] patients), and complaints associated with the circulatory system (225 [39.1%] patients). In the subgroup of 104 (18.0%) psychiatrist-interviewed people, a relationship was found between the suicidal ideation reported during history-taking and the following factors: earlier psychiatric treatment (p = 0.000), financial problems (p = 0.015) and prolonged unemployment (p = 0.022). Conclusions: The observed clinical pattern may be associated with sympathomimetic syndrome due to poisoning by novel psychoactive substances. Preliminary results of this research show that financial problems and a history of psychiatric treatment may enhance suicidal ideation in patients after acute poisoning by psychoactive substances. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(4):445–55
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