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Evaluation of Drugs for Suicide Attempt and Antidote Uses inEmergency Room of a Hospital in Korea
Korean J Clin Pharm 2012;22(4):304-315
Published online December 30, 2012
© 2012 Korean College of Clinical Pharmacy.

Ok Sang Lee, Young Ju Cheon, Jung Tae Kim, and Sung Cil Lim

Clinical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, South Korea, Department of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, Seoul, South Korea
This is an Open Access journal distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Today, suicide by self-poisoning of prescribed or non-prescribed drugs on purpose has been increasing and is a majorcause of mortality. It is very important to treat promptly and properly for saving the lives from those suicides. There isneither an organization such as poison control center nor measurement in S. Korea, though. The object of this studywas to evaluate information of frequently used substances for suicide attempt in S. Korea. Our results also can providehealthcare provider including pharmacists and doctors, etc and contribute to increasing health and welfare for Korean.From June 1st 2006 to April 30th 2012, we retrospectively studied patients visiting emergency room due to suicideattempt. We collected information of underlying disease, history of past medical condition and suicide attempt, ingredientand getting route of ingesting substances, emergency treatment, and outcome by reviewing electronic medicalrecord. We also evaluated actual treatment of self-poisoning and made guide information about antidote medication for S. Korean healthcare provider. Among total 242 cases of suicidal attempts, cases ingesting substances including prescription, non-prescription drugs and agricultural chemicals were 86.4%. The most frequently used drugs for suicide attempt were sedatives-hypnotics (53.6%), followed by analgesics (16.7%) and antidepressants (12.4%). Analgesics including acetaminophen and aspirin were most in teenagers but sedatives hypnotics including benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepine(zolpidem) and antihistamine were most in other ages including elderly people. Most frequently used antidote was activated charcoal (62.7%) and specific antidotes for some substances (acetaminophen, aspirin, agricultural chemicals) were also treated properly, accompanying with medication for supportive care. In conclusion, the most used substances for suicide attempt were sedatives-hypnotics and treatments for self-poisoning in emergency room were appropriate based on existing references. Therefore, information of frequently used substances and antidote reflecting these results will be useful for South Korean healthcare provider.
Keywords : self-poisoning, suicide, antidote, emergency room, benzodiazepines

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