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Party pills is common in patients at emergency

Friday July 22

Use of herbal party pills is common in people presenting to hospital emergency departments (EDs), according to a speaker at the Winter Symposium of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine being held at the Millennium Hotel in Queenstown NZ.

Those taking the pills are at risk from toxicity because of failure to read the instructions, taking more than recommended and/or co-ingestion of alcohol, according to Dr Tonia Nicholson, Emergency Physician at Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Dr Nicholson conducted an analytical cross-sectional survey of presenters to a large tertiary ED.

Almost all (1043, that is, 97%) of those presenting agreed to participate.

11.9% had taken herbal party pills and use was most prevalent in those aged 14 - 25 years (30%).

66.4% had consumed alcohol when they first took party pills.

Only 64% had read the product directions, and 38.4% had, at some stage, taken more pills than recommended.

84.8% had felt effects from party pills, but only 59% described these as "good".

Emergency physicians need to be aware of the use and potential adverse effects of herbal party pills to enable them to recognize signs of toxicity in ED presenters, she advised.

Dr Nicholson will present her paper at 1.45 - 2 pm on Friday July 22.


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