or = 16 years) treated at the EMA during one year (April 2008 to April 2009) were included consecutively in an observational study design. The treating physicians completed a standardized form comprising information needed to address the study's aims. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify the factors associated with hospitalization. Results There were 2348 contacts for 1856 individuals; 1157 (62%) were male, and the median age was 34 years. The most frequent main toxic agents were ethanol (43%), opioids (22%) and CO or fire smoke (10%). The physicians classified 73% as accidental overdoses with substances of abuse taken for recreational purposes, 15% as other accidents (self-inflicted or other) and 11% as suicide attempts. Most (91%) patients were treated with observation only. The median observation time until discharge was 3.8 hours. No patient developed sequelae or died at the EMA. Seventeen per cent were hospitalized. Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, respiratory depression, paracetamol, reduced consciousness and suicidal intention were factors associated with hospitalization. Forty-eight per cent were discharged without referral to follow-up. The one-month mortality was 0.6%. Of the nine deaths, five were by new accidental overdose with substances of abuse. Conclusions More than twice as many patients were treated at the EMA compared with all hospitals in Oslo. Despite more than a doubling of the annual number of poisoned patients treated at the EMA since 2003, there was no mortality or sequelae, indicating that the current practice is safe. Thus, most low- to intermediate-acuity poisonings can be treated safely without the need to access hospital resources. Although the short-term mortality was low, more follow-up of patients with substance abuse should be encouraged."/>
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Table 2 Main and co-agents, main agents separated by sex

From: Outpatient treatment of acute poisonings in Oslo: poisoning pattern, factors associated with hospitalization, and mortality

Toxic agent Main+co-agents Main agents
  n (%) Total n (%) Males n (%) Females n (%) p-value
Ethanol 1236 (53) 1018 (43) 688 (44) 330 (42) ns
Opioids 613 (26) 519 (22) 415 (27) 104 (13) < 0.001*
CO/fire smoke 233 (10) 231 (10) 136 (9) 95 (12) 0.018*
Benzodiazepines 376 (16) 122 (5) 72 (5) 50 (6) ns
Amphetamines 196 (8) 73 (3) 63 (4) 10 (1) < 0.001*
Paracetamol 104 (4) 58 (2) 17 (1) 41 (5) < 0.001*
GHB 58 (2) 54 (2) 39 (3) 15 (2) ns
Antidepressants 54 (2) 39 (2) 10 (1) 29 (4) < 0.001*
Scopolamine 45 (2) 34 (1) 26 (2) 8 (1) ns
Neuroleptics 42 (2) 29 (1) 7 (< 0.5) 22 (3) < 0.001*
Zopiclone/zolpidem 65 (3) 27 (1) 11 (1) 16 (2) 0.011*
Cocaine 32 (1) 12 (1) 10 (1) 2 (< 0.5) ns
NSAIDs 31 (1) 12 (1) 6 (< 0.5) 6 (1) ns
Antihistamines 24 (1) 10 (< 0.5) 2 (< 0.5) 8 (1) 0.004*
Antiepileptics 16 (1) 9 (< 0.5) 3 (< 0.5) 6 (1) ns
Ecstasy 14 (1) 5 (< 0.5) 3 (< 0.5) 2 (< 0.5) ns
Other gases 21 (1) 20 (1) 12 (1) 8 (1) ns
Other 194 (8) 76 (3) 33 (2) 43 (5) < 0.001*
Total cases   2348 (100) 1553 (100) 795 (100)  
  1. *Significant
  2. Main agents present in ≤ 5 patients were defined as "other"
  3. NSAIDs: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  4. Among the opioids as main agent, 478 were by illegal substances. Among the legal opioids, 19 were by methadone and 14 were by buprenorphine. Among the cases involving antidepressants as the main agent, 22 were by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and five were by tricyclic antidepressants. Among the cases involving paracetamol as the main agent, 21 were by codeine-combination formulas