Relationship between prescribed psychotropic medications and co-ingested alcohol in intentional self-poisonings

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Abstract

Background

Acute alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for suicide, therefore investigating factors associated with alcohol-related self-harm warrant attention.

Aims

To investigate the influence of prescribed psychotropic medications on the odds of co-ingesting alcohol preceding or during intentional efforts to self-poison.

Method

A cross-sectional analysis of consecutive hospital presentations following intentional self-poisoning was conducted. A total of 7270 patients (4363 women) aged 18–96 were included.

Results

The odds of alcohol co-ingestion were increased in those not prescribed any medication (odds ratio (OR) = 1.27, 99% CI 1.10–1.46, P<0.001) and in impulsive self-poisonings (OR = 1.39, 99% CI 1.11–1.74, P<0.001). Odds were decreased in those prescribed anticonvulsants (OR = 0.69, 99% CI 0.51–0.93), antipsychotics (OR = 0.55, 99% CI 0.45–0.66) and antidepressants (OR = 0.87, 99% CI 0.77–0.99).

Conclusions

Findings indicate that being medicated for a psychiatric illness may reduce the likelihood of alcohol consumption during times of acute distress, hence perhaps may reduce the risk of intentional self-poisoning.

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