J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol.  2014 Dec;12(2):63-69.

Analysis of Clinical Characteristics by Gender in Children and Adolescents with Intentional Poisoning at Emergency Department

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, St. Vincent Hospital, Korea. medpooh@hanmail.net
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Bucheon St. Mary's Hospital, Korea.


The aim of this study is to investigate the difference between male and female in some clinically meaningful aspects and to prevent intentional poisoning in children and adolescents.
Retrograde medical records review of patients who visited the emergency department of two secondary hospitals for drug ingestion from March 2010 through March 2013 was performed. Unintentional ingestion or ingestion by others was excluded.
A total of 138 cases were reported, male 25.4% (n=35), female 74.6% (n=103). The reason for poisoning was intentional in 132 cases (95.7%) and misuse in six cases (4.3%). In female patients, non-prescription drugs was the most common cause of intentional poisoning (68.9%). Male patients tend to use life substances for intentional poisoning more frequently (20.0%) than female (3.9%). Seven male patients and 12 female patients had previous psychiatric history and 34.3% of male and 41.7% of female were consulted to the psychiatric department.
Female adolescents are more likely to ingest drugs intentionally for suicide attempt than males of comparable ages. The drugs they ingested were, in many cases, obtained with ease from the drug store nearby and, remarkably, most of the drugs they obtained in that way were acetaminophen-containing. This suggests that some guidelines or control in the pharmacy that restrict children or adolescents from obtaining potentially or possibly life-threatening drugs might be necessary. In addition, education regarding drugs is thought to be necessary in school for teenagers as they tend to misuse them with incorrect acknowledgement.


Poisoning; Gender; Suicide
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