Inj Prev 17:332-337 doi:10.1136/ip.2010.029793
  • Original article

Poisoning hospitalisations among reproductive-aged women in the USA, 1998–2006

  1. Samuel F Posner1
  1. 1Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  2. 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  3. 3Office of Research on Women's Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shanna Cox, Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway MS K-20, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA; shanna.cox{at}
  1. Contributors All authors have contributed significantly to the preparation of this manuscript including participation in the design of the study, analysing and interpreting the data, drafting the manuscript and approval of the final draft being submitted. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Accepted 23 December 2010
  • Published Online First 4 February 2011


Objective To describe poisoning hospitalisations among reproductive-aged women from 1998 to 2006.

Methods 1998–2006 data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilisation Project were used to identify hospitalisations for poisonings among US women aged 15–44 years. Differences in hospitalisation characteristics were compared by intent using χ2 statistics. Trends in poisoning hospitalisation rates were calculated overall and by subgroup.

Results There were approximately 636 000 poisoning hospitalisations in women aged 15–44 years during 1998–2006. Hospitalisations for intentionally self-inflicted poisonings had a higher proportion of women aged 15–24 years and privately insured women than did unintentional poisonings (p<0.001). Poisoning hospitalisations in rural areas and those that resulted in death were more likely to be of undetermined intent than those for which intent was specified (p<0.001). Co-diagnoses of substance abuse (34.5%) or mental disorders (66.5%) were high. The rate of poisoning hospitalisations overall and unintentional poisoning hospitalisations increased 6% and 22%, respectively, during this period (p<0.001). The most frequently diagnosed poisoning agent was acetaminophen. Poisonings attributable to acetaminophen, opioids, central nervous system stimulants and benzodiazepines increased, while poisonings attributable to antidepressants decreased (p<0.05).

Conclusions The increase in unintentional poisoning hospitalisations among women aged 15–44 years and the changing profile of poisoning agents should inform the healthcare community's poisoning prevention strategies. Poisoning prevention strategies should include a component to address substance abuse and mental health disorders among reproductive-age women.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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