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Rise in mortality involving poisoning by medicaments other than narcotics, including poisoning by psychotropic drugs in different age/racial groups in the US.

Abstract

Annual numbers of deaths involving poisoning by medicaments but not narcotics/psychodysleptics grew from 4,332 between 2000-2001 to 11,401 between 2016-2017, with the growth in the rates of those deaths being higher for the 2011-2017 period compared to the 2000-2011 period. The largest increases in the rates of mortality involving poisoning by medicaments but not narcotics/psychodysleptics were in non-elderly Non-Hispanic Native Americans, followed by Non-Hispanic whites. Most of those increases came from increases in the rates of mortality involving poisoning by psychotropic medications; the latter rates grew for the period of 2015-2017 vs. 2000-2002 by factors ranging from 2.75 for ages 35-44y to 5.37 for ages 55-64y.

There were major increases in mortality involving poisoning by non-narcotic, particularly psychotropic medicaments, especially in non-elderly non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans. Our results support the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the effect of psychotropic medications on health-related outcomes, including mortality for causes other than poisoning, and the impact of medication misuse.

Increase in mortality involving poisoning, particularly by narcotics, is known to have been one of the factors that affected life expectancy in the US during the last two decades, especially for white Americans and Native Americans. However, the contribution of medicaments other than narcotics to mortality in different racial/age groups is less studied.

We regressed annual rates of mortality involving poisoning by medicaments but not narcotics/psychodysleptics (ICD-10 codes T36-39.xx or T41-50.8 but not T40.xx present as either underlying or contributing causes of death), as well as annual rates of mortality for certain subcategories of the above, including mortality involving poisoning by psychotropic drugs but not narcotics/psychodysleptics (ICD-10 codes T43.xx but not T40.xx present as either underlying or contributing causes of death) in different age/racial groups for both the 2000-2011 period and the 2011-2017 period against calendar year.

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