Riddle as paracetamol pack changes fail to cut suicides
Suicide rates have surprisingly been unaffected by regulations on paracetamol pack sizes.
The new research also finds marked inequalities remain in paracetamol-related deaths, with deprived people having higher overdose and death rates.
'An important public health policy has failed to achieve its objective and it is not clear why,' warned the researchers, writing online in Public Health.
Study leader Dr Dermot Gorman, a consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lothian, said: 'Legislation has not permanently affected overall use of paracetamol in overdose in Scotland or reduced the proportion of patients taking paracetamol as a component of the overdose in the longer term.'
He added that fatalities were 'significantly higher' in more disadvantaged groups.
Dr Gorman analysed routine death and discharge data for the entire Scottish population between 1995 and 2002.
Although rates of paracetamol overdose fell following legislation in 1998 they then returned to levels seen in the mid-1990s.