Background: A good proportion of poisoned patients treated at poisoning wards are elderly. This study was designed to evaluate the epidemiologic pattern of acute poisoning in elderly in Hamadan, western Iran.
Methods: In this retrospective cross-sectional study, poisoned patients aged 60 years and older treated at department of poisoning of Farshchian Hospital from March 2008 to March 2013 were included.
Results: In this 5-year period, 7951 poisoned patients were treated at Farshchian Hospital in Hamadan, Iran. Among them, 418 (5.3%) patients were 60 years old or older, with mean age of 71.6 ± 5.1 years. Narcotics and recreational substances were the most common type of poisons responsible for poisoning (46.4%), which among them, methadone was the most commonly used drug (20.3%). Neurologic medicines were the most commonly used pharmaceutical products (16%), among which, benzodiazepines (8.9%) were responsible for the highest number of poisonings due to pharmaceuticals. Fifteen patients (3.6%) including 13 men and 2 women died. The toxic agents used by cases with fatal outcome were opioids (8 patients), organophosphates (5 patients) and aluminum phosphide (2 patients). Men were found to be significantly more affected with recreational substances (P < 0.001) and pesticides (P < 0.001), while poisoning with pharmaceutical products (P = 0.017) was significantly more common in women. Regarding the intention of poisoning, accidental poisoning (P = 0.025) and overdose (P < 0.001) were significantly more common in men while deliberate self-poisoning was significantly more frequent in women (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Deliberate self-harm and poisoning with opioids especially methadone showed a high prevalence in elderly poisoned patients in Hamadan, Iran. It seems that drug trafficking control, addiction rehabilitation therapies and suicide prevention programs for elderly can be helpful in poisoning reduction in this age group in this part of the country.