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Hooijman MF, Martinez-De la Torre A, Weiler S, Burden AM. Lancet Reg. Health Eur. 2022; 20: e100437.


(Copyright © 2022, Elsevier Publishing)








BACKGROUND: To examine time trends and characteristics of calls related to opioid poisonings reported to the National Poison Centre and opioid sales in Switzerland.

METHODS: We used population-level data from the Swiss National Poisons Information Centre on reported opioid-related poisonings and data provided by the Swiss Pharmacists' Association (pharmaSuisse) based on IQVIA data to identify sold opioid packages. The rate of opioid-related poisoning calls and dispensed opioid packages per 100,000 Swiss inhabitants between 2000 and 2019 were plotted by year and annual trends were assessed. All analyses were stratified by individual opioid and potency (strong vs weak).

FINDINGS: There was a significant 177% increase in the rate of calls for opioid-related poisonings (1·4 to 3·9 per 100,000 inhabitants, p<0·001) and a 91·3% increase in opioid sales (from 14,364·0 to 27,477·6 per 100,000 inhabitants, p<0.001). The increase associated with strong opioids was higher when compared to weak opioids, in both poison centre calls and sales. In 2019, tramadol was the most frequently reported opioid in the poison centre data (35·7%, n=133) and sales (37·5%, n=8,863,377), followed by oxycodone calls (24·4%, n=91) and sales 23·4%, n= 552,751). Poisoning calls and sales related to oxycodone increased substantially between 2009 and 2016, as did the rate of poison centre calls requiring medical care.

INTERPRETATION: Calls to the Swiss National poison centre and sales for opioid have increased substantially in Switzerland in the last two-decades. Increases were primarily driven by oxycodone and tramadol; however, sales have attenuated since 2016. Our findings mirror other European countries and stress the importance of surveillance and monitoring. FUNDING: The research did not receive external funding. Translation of the abstract in German, French and Italian are available in the Supplementary section.

Language: en


Prescription opioids; Opioid harm; Opioid use; Opioid-related poisonings; Poison centre data


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