Year: 1999 Source: BMJ, v.318, no.7189, (April 10, 1999), p.972-977 SIEC No: 20010638

This study aimed to determine whether a serious paracetamol overdose in a medical television drama altered the incidence & nature of general hospital presentations for deliberate self-poisoning. An analysis was conducted of presentations for self-poisoning at during 3-week periods before & after the broadcast. Presentations for self-poisoning, particularly by parcetemol, increased in the weeks after the broadcast. 20% of 32 patients who had seen the episode said it had influenced their decision to take an overdose, & 17% said it influenced their choice of drug. These findings raise serious questions about the advisability of the media portraying suicidal behaviour. (25 refs)