Treatment Guidelines from The Medical Letter
Pharmaceutical Drug Overdose
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Every pharmaceutical drug is a dose-dependent poison. This article describes the clinical presentation and treatment of some dangerous overdoses commonly reported in adults.


Removal of the drug from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract following ingestion prevents its absorption, decreasing systemic bioavailability. There is no evidence from controlled trials that any of these procedures improve clinical outcomes, and they all involve some risk.

Ipecac syrup, which has been used for decades to induce vomiting, is no longer recommended for routine use in emergency departments, and the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend stocking it at home. Adverse effects include protracted vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, irritability/hyperactivity, fever, sweating and aspiration pneumonitis.1

Gastric lavage through ... more      

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Title: Pharmaceutical Drug Overdose
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