The recently published 32nd Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS) reveals that in 2014, someone called a poison center about every 11 seconds.
America’s poison centers managed almost 3 million cases, over two million of which were human exposure cases.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) maintains the National Poison Data System, the data repository for the nation’s 55 poison centers.
Approximately half of all human exposure cases managed by poison centers in 2014 involved children younger than six years, but as in previous years, many of the more serious cases occurred among adolescents and adults.
While overall incoming call volume to poison centers continues to decrease, cases with more serious clinical outcomes (moderate, major, or death) have increased by 4.29 percent per year since 2000..
In 2014, around 57 percent of all exposure cases involved pharmaceuticals.
Common scenarios for unintentional pharmaceutical exposures included inadvertent double-dosing, wrong medication taken or given, other incorrect dosage, doses given/taken too close together, and inadvertent exposure to someone else’s medication.
Other exposures were to household products, plants, mushrooms, pesticides, animal bites and stings, carbon monoxide, and many other types of non-pharmaceutical substances.
Also similar to previous years, in 2014 most calls to poison centers originated from a residence, and the majority of exposures were treated at the site of exposure.
In 2014, 21 percent of exposure calls came from health care facilities. “Calls to poison centers originating from health care facilities are an increasingly significant proportion of overall poison center exposure call volume, speaking to the increasing clinical complexity of the types of cases that the experts at poison centers help to manage,” said Jay L. Schauben, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT, report author, Director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Jacksonville, and current AAPCC President. “Health care providers such as emergency department clinicians, first responders, pharmacists, and others increasingly rely on the experts at poison centers for immediate, evidence-based treatment advice about known or suspected exposures to dangerous substances.”
Other findings in the report include:
- The substance classes most frequently involved in human exposures were analgesics (11.3 percent), cosmetics/personal care products (7.7 percent), household cleaning substances (7.7 percent), sedatives/hypnotics/antipsychotics (5.9 percent), and antidepressants (4.4 percent).
- Unintentional exposures outnumbered intentional exposures in all age groups except in the age category of 13-19 years.
- Schools were the site of over 27,000 exposures. However, only about 10,000 calls to poison centers were made from schools.
The 32nd annual report issued by the American Association of Poison Control Centers will be published in the December issue of Clinical Toxicology and is available at www.aapcc.org.