Original Article

Differences Between Snakebites with Concomitant Use of Alcohol or Drugs and Single Snakebites

Authors: Joann Schulte, DO, MPH, Kurt C. Kleinschmidt, MD, Kristina Domanski, MD, Eric Anthony Smith, MSIS, Ashley Haynes, MD, Brett Roth, MD
diagnostic:266968

Abstract

Objectives: Published reports have suggested that the concurrent use of alcohol or drugs occurs among some snakebite victims, but no national assessment of such data exists.

Methods: We used data from US poison control centers collected during telephone calls in calendar years 2000–2013 to compare snake envenomations with concomitant use of drugs, alcohol, or both to snakebites lacking such use.

Results: A total of 608 snakebites with 659 instances of concomitant alcohol/drug use were reported, which represent approximately 1% of 92,751 snakebites reported to US poison control centers. An annual mean of 48 snakebites with concomitant use of alcohol/drugs was reported, compared with a mean of 6625 snakebites per year with no concomitant use of alcohol/drugs. Most cases involved men, peaked during the summer months, and involved copperheads or rattlesnakes, which mirrored overall trends. Snakebite victims who also used alcohol/drugs were more likely than victims with only a snakebite reported to be bitten by rattlesnakes, to be admitted to the hospital, and die. Alcohol was the most common reported concomitant substance, but other substances were reported.

Conclusions: Snakebites with concomitant use of alcohol/drugs are uncommon, accounting for approximately 1% of the snakebite envenomations reported annually to US poison control centers; however, snakebite victims also reporting alcohol/drug use are more likely to be bitten by rattlesnakes, be admitted to a healthcare facility, and die.

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