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Steroid Drugs

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in each Government region (a) under 18 years old and (b) in total were treated for steroid-related health problems in each of the last five years. (253949)

A direct answer cannot be given as it is hard to define what is meant by the term “steroid-related health problems”. Information is available on a count of hospital admissions for ‘poisoning (improper use) by steroids’ by age group and government office region for the last five years, and is shown in the following table. The footnotes to the table should used for data interpretation.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, an independent body advising the Government on drug related issues, is concerned about the misuse of anabolic steroids by the general public and in particular young people, and has established a working group to consider the evidence of harms more fully.

Count of hospital admissions for ‘poisoning (improper use) by steroids’1 by Age and Government office region Activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector

2006-07

2005-06

2004-05

Under 18

18 and over

Unknown

Total

Under 18

18 and over

Unknown

Total

Under 18

18 and over

Unknown

Total

A-North East

21

246

267

11

208

219

9

214

223

B-North West

50

492

542

59

459

518

26

440

466

D-Yorkshire and The Humber

17

222

239

2

236

238

16

205

221

E-East Midlands

13

282

295

13

345

1

359

11

368

379

F-West Midlands

14

308

322

19

281

300

16

298

314

G-East of England

25

512

537

22

489

511

15

384

399

H-London

27

395

422

20

323

2

345

16

237

253

J-South East

43

473

516

28

476

504

27

430

457

K-South West

26

651

1

678

38

571

24

633

27

486

5

518

Non-England and Unknown

6

48

39

93

3

48

51

5

56

61

Total

242

3,629

40

3,911

215

3,436

27

3,678

168

3,118

5

3,291

2003-042002-03

Under 18

18 and over

Unknown

Total

Under 18

18 and over

Unknown

Total

A-North East

4

263

267

14

259

273

B-North West

30

483

513

23

563

586

D-Yorkshire and The Humber

30

236

266

20

301

321

E-East Midlands

12

380

392

23

327

350

F-West Midlands

13

263

276

11

419

430

G-East of England

21

435

456

27

383

410

H-London

12

222

234

23

221

244

J-South East

23

405

1

429

32

434

2

468

K-South West

24

488

1

513

13

585

598

Non-England and Unknown

3

49

3

55

5

62

32

99

Total

172

3,224

5

3,401

191

3,554

34

3,779

1 The ICD-10 codes for poisoning (improper use) by steroids are:

T38.0 Glucocorticoids and synthetic analogues

T36.5 Other estrogens and progestogens

T38.7 Androgens and anabolic congeners

T50.0 Mineralcorticoids and their antagonists

All of the following ICD-10 Y codes would be found in a secondary position and would indicate that the preceding condition was an adverse effect of steroids in therapeutic use (i.e. the adverse effect of a prescribed steroid drug):

Y42.0 Glucocorticoids and synthetic analogues

Y42.5 Other estrogens and progestogens

Y42.7 Androgens and anabolic congeners

Y54.0 Mineralocorticoids

Y54.1 Mineralocorticoid antagonists (aldosterone antagonists)

Notes:

1. Finished admission episodes: A finished admission episode is the first period of inpatient care under one consultant within one health care provider. Finished admission episodes are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of inpatients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

2. Data quality: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England. Data are also received from a number of independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain.

3. Assessing growth through time: HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. The quality and coverage of the data have improved over time. These improvements in information submitted by the NHS have been particularly marked in the earlier years and need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. Some of the increase in figures for later years {particularly 2006-07 onwards) may be due to the improvement in the coverage of independent sector activity. Changes in NHS practice also need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. For example, a number of procedures may now be undertaken in outpatient settings and may no longer be accounted for in the HES data. This may account for any reductions in activity over time.

4. Number of admissions in which the patient had a 'poisoning (improper use) by steroids'1 primary or secondary diagnosis: These figures represent the number of admissions where the diagnosis was recorded in any of the 14 primary and secondary diagnosis fields in a Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) record. Each admission episode is only counted once in each count, even if the diagnosis is recorded in more than one diagnosis field of the record.

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care