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Original Research

Open Access

Trends in drug poisoning of youth patients after the deregulation of over the counter drug sales

  • Ji Yeon Lim1,*,
  • Sun Hwa Lee2
  • Duk Hee Lee2

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Ewha Womans University Seoul Hospital, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, 07804 Seoul, Republic of Korea

2Department of Emergency Medicine, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, 07985 Seoul, Republic of Korea

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2023.078 Vol.19,Issue 6,November 2023 pp.60-66

Submitted: 15 January 2023 Accepted: 28 March 2023

Published: 08 November 2023

*Corresponding Author(s): Ji Yeon Lim E-mail:;


Since 15 November 2012, the South Korean government amended the law to make some medicines available at 24-hour convenient stores that had previously been sold at pharmacies only. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of this legislation on drug poisoning in youth patients, who may be affected by increased access. This study retrospectively analyzed data registered in the Emergency Department-based Injury In-depth Surveillance (EDIIS) database from January 2007 to December 2018. Patients aged 15 to 24 years old were selected to analyze the incidence and outcomes of acetaminophen (AAP) poisoning in youth patientsBefore the deregulation of over-the-counter (OTC) medication sales, 1994 youth patients visited the emergency department (ED) from 2007–2012. By contrast, 5440 youth visited the ED from 2013–2018 after deregulation. In particular, there were 263 (13.2%) and 820 (15.1%) cases of AAP poisoning intentionally before and after deregulation, respectively, which was not significantly different (p = 0.085). However, the number of patients who were admitted to the general ward (GW) due to AAP poisoning significantly increased from 93 (35.4%) to 339 (41.3%) (p = 0.041). Furthermore, the number of patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) after ingesting AAP significantly increased from 9 (3.4%) to 93 (11.3%) (p < 0.001).There was no significant difference in intentional AAP poisoning ratios following the deregulation of OTC drug sales; however, GW and ICU admission rates significantly increased. This study demonstrated that there is positive relationship between intentional AAP poisoning and severity in youth patients after the deregulation legislation.


Acetaminophen; Adolescent; Emergency department; Nonprescription drug; Poisoning

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Ji Yeon Lim,Sun Hwa Lee,Duk Hee Lee. Trends in drug poisoning of youth patients after the deregulation of over the counter drug sales. Signa Vitae. 2023. 19(6);60-66.


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