3. Variation in the drugs involved in acute drug toxicity presentations based on age and sex within the Euro-DEN Plus dataset
There are data from other drug indicators suggesting differences in drugs used according to age and sex, but no data on whether this also applies to the drugs involved in acute drug toxicity presentations.
Data were extracted from the European Drug Emergencies Network (Euro-DEN) Plus database for all presentations over the 39 months period from October 2013 to December 2016. Descriptive data by age and sex are presented and compared amongst the main drug families in these presentations.
In the 17,198 presentations, the median age was 31 years and 76.1% were male. Overall, female patients were younger than males, both in the whole cohort (median age 29 vs. 32 years; p < 0.001) and in all drug groups except benzodiazepines (median age 36 vs. 36 years; p = 0.83). The relative proportion of each drug group was different at every age strata and some patterns could be clearly described: cannabis, NPS and hallucinogens were the most common in patients <20 years; amphetamines, ketamine and cocaine in the 20-39year group; gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) / gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) in the 30-39 year group; and opioids and benzodiazepines in those ≥40 years.
These differences in the drugs involved in acute drug toxicity presentations according to age and sex are important for those developing drug-prevention and education programs to ensure that they are appropriately targeted.