J Korean Soc Emerg Med.  2002 Dec;13(4):545-548.

The Effect of Separation of Prescription and Dispensation of Drugs on Acute Poisoning in Urban Tertiary Emergency Center

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Korea. emsong@smc.samsung.co.kr
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Sungae Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


PURPOSE: The separation of prescription and dispensation of drugs starting from July 2000 has led to a reduced exposure to drugs for the general population. Therefore, we hypothesize that the policy of separation the prescribing and the dispensing of drugs has decreased the actual incidence of drug intoxication from drug abuse.
Patients with acute intentional drug intoxication who were admitted to emergency centers in Seoul were retrospectively studied. The study period was subdivided into three: before, during, and after the launch of the policy of separation of prescription and dispensation, corresponding to the periods January to June, 2000; January to June 2001; and January to June 2002, respectively.
Acute drug intoxication was associated with 0.2% of all prescriptions during the studied period. There was no significant difference in the types of intoxicating drugs whereas the most commonly abused drug was Doxylamine succinate. Prescribed medications accounted for 37.0%, 29.2%, and 32.3% of the acute drug intoxication cases in 2000, 2001, and 2002, respectively. There was no significant difference in the treatment outcomes between the three study groups although three patients died of paraquat intoxications in 2001.
The launch of the policy of separation of prescription and dispension of drugs did not significantly reduce the rate of acute drug intoxication from drug abuse which questions the effectiveness of the policy in decreasing drug abuse. We suggest reassessment of sedatives, in particular, those prescribed medications, in order to decrease the incidence of acute intoxications.


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