Turkish Journal of Anaesthesiology & Reanimation

Toxicological Analysis Unveiling the Low Rate of Self-Reporting of Addictive/ Recreative Substances in Acute Severe Drug Overdose Cases


UMR - 8257, Cognitive Action Group; University Paris Descartes, Paris, France


Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care Unit, SAMU de Paris, Necker Hospital Paris, APHP, Paris, France


Regional Center of Pharmacovigilance of Paris-HEGP, European Hospital of Georges Pompidou, Paris, France


INSERM U970, Paris, France


University Paris Diderot, Paris, France

Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim 2020; 48: 148-155
DOI: 10.5152/TJAR.2019.28003
Read: 134 Downloads: 77 Published: 06 December 2019

Objective: Toxicological analysis (TA) is advised when assessing the prognosis and the treatment of drug overdose patients. Apart from this use, the value of TA has remained unclear. This study aimed at defining the value of TA regarding the toxicological diagnosis in severe overdose cases that involved addictive or recreational drugs (ARDs) that were used either alone or in combination with medicinal drugs.

Methods: The patients who were enrolled in the study had been admitted to our intensive care unit for the treatment of poisoning. TA was performed using advanced technologies such as mass spectrometry of blood/urine on admission. An occurrence indicated the supposed ingestion of a defined substance. Patients were included in a group depending on the combination of the occurrences of supposed ingested drugs (SID) and the results of the 1) TA: SID+, TA+; 2) SID+, not searched by TA; 3) SID-, TA+.

Results: There were 224 occurrences of 90 substances in 70 patients. ARDs were present in 30 patients (43%). ARD accounted for 24 occurrences in the SID+, TA+ group, 10 occurrences in the SID+, not searched group and 196 occurrences in the SID-, TA+ group. In the SID+, TA+ group, 9 occurrences (69%) of ethanol were confirmed by TA. Ingestion of ethanol was invalidated in 4 occurrences (31%). In the patients who denied ethanol ingestion, TA confirmed the non-ingestion of ethanol using 30 blood measures (81%). Ethanol was involved in 57% of the patients, being the lone substance in only 1 case.

Conclusion: In drug overdose instances that result in organ failure(s) and involve ARDs, self-reporting is of limited value in assessing the patients’ exposure to ARD. Multiple consumptions expose patients to unexpected drug interactions.

Cite this article as: Alaywa KA, Jouffroy R, Le Beller C, Rapalen JH, Lamhaut L, Le Louet AL, et al. Toxicological Analysis Unveiling the Low Rate of Self-Reporting of Addictive/Recreative Substances in Acute Severe Drug Overdose Cases. Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim 2020; 48(2): 148-55.

EISSN 2667-6370