Need for Poison Information Centres in India - A Review

Kishore Gnana Sam, Modak Raj Sharma, Kafeel Ahmed Khan, Girish Thunga, Padma GM Rao, Ananth Naik Nagappa

Abstract: Poison information centres are those, which provide immediate round the clock toxicity assessment and treatment recommendations for the effective management of poisoning cases. Poison control centres generally provide referral and management advice for poisonings, information on potential poisons and programs on poison prevention for the general public and health care professionals. Implementation of the Poison Control Centre will further enhance the ability of poison centers to improve the care of poisoned patients and reach the overall goal of reducing illness, injury and death due to poisoning. Pharmacist's roles in patient care are becoming more widely recognized by other health care professionals, health policy decision makers and the general public. A clinical pharmacist is entrusted to provide clinical preventive care, primary care, emergency services, and long term care and rehabilitative services. Participation of pharmacists is necessary to meet several of these objectives. Increasing costs and fragmentation of the health care system are well recognized, with consumers facing difficulties obtaining care in a timely fashion and then, often, from a practitioner with whom they are not familiar. Pharmacists working in emergency departments thus could provide this service, as well as other services that relate to primary care or that prevent further emergency department admissions.

Incidence of Poisoning
Poisoning is the harmful effect that occurs when a toxic substance is swallowed, inhaled, or comes in contact with the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes, such as those of the mouth or nose. Poisoning is the most common cause of nonfatal accidents in the home. More than 2 million people suffer some type of poisoning each year in the United States. Drugs prescriptions, nonprescription and illegal are the most common source of serious poisonings and poisoning-related deaths. Other common poisons include gases, household products, agricultural products, plants, industrial chemicals, vitamins and foods (particularly certain species of mushrooms and fish). However, almost any substance ingested in sufficiently large quantities can be toxic.

In parts of the developing world, pesticide poisoning causes more deaths than infectious diseases; their easy availability also makes them a popular method of self harm. The prevalence of deliberate self-harm appears to be increasing, especially among younger cohorts, with the difference between men and women becoming less. Despite recommendations for the emergency department management of deliberate self-harm being available for over 5 years, less than 50% of patients are getting appropriate psychosocial care. 


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