Diagnosis and Treatment of Drug Overdose

  • Margaret M. McCarron


Interest in drug overdosage has changed in recent years, because of the extension of drug abuse to all segments of society, the advent of new drugs with specific new actions, the widespread availability of serum drug concentrations, and the emphasis being placed on toxicology by the relatively new field of Emergency Medicine. Misuse of new therapeutic agents has resulted in new types of overdoses requiring new treatments. Since most overdoses are not life threatening, good results may be obtained in many cases without making a diagnosis. However, severe and unusual cases necessitate specific diagnosis and treatment. Toxicology results have shown that mistakes occur when the diagnosis is made on clinical grounds only. Establishing a preliminary diagnosis and providing rational therapy requires a working knowledge of clinical pharmacology, including specific information about the actions of the various drugs, their important chemical and kinetic properties, and their toxic manifestations.


Activate Charcoal Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Drug Overdose Gastric Lavage Stimulant Pattern 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret M. McCarron

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