Mortality of subjects with alcohol-related seizures increased after alcohol cheapening

Authors


Abstract

Objective

To investigate whether the reduction of alcohol prices in Finland (March 1, 2004) associated with an increase in mortality of subjects with alcohol-related seizures.

Patients and methods

All subjects with head trauma in Oulu University Hospital during 1999 (n = 827) were identified and thereafter followed up until death or the end of 2009. We used National Hospital Discharge Register, hospital charts, and death records from Official Cause-of-Death Statistics to identify seizure visits and alcohol-related deaths. Kaplan–Meier survival curves were used to characterize the effect of alcohol price reduction on risk of death. Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify independent predictors of death.

Results

Twenty-five subjects had alcohol-related seizures before the alcohol price reduction. Their cumulative mortality rate was significantly higher (P = 0.015) than that of other head trauma subjects during the follow-up and it clearly increased after the price reduction. Age (HR 1.06 per year, 95% CI 1.05–1.07, P < 0.001), moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (HR 2.04 95% CI 1.37–3.04, < 0.001), and alcohol-related seizure (HR 3.02, 95% CI 1.48–6.16, P = 0.002) were independent predictors of death after adjustment for confounding factors.

Conclusion

We conclude that the political decision to lower alcohol price associated with a significant increase in the mortality rate of subjects with alcohol-related seizures.

Ancillary