In this episode, I’ll discuss the 4 steps I consider for every medication overdose case.
Those steps are:
#1 Supportive care
#2 Antidote therapy
#4 Enhance elimination
As pharmacists, it is easy to think of antidotes as the first step to consider in medication overdose. However, it is supportive care that is the mainstay of overdose treatment. There are only about 40 antidotes versus the thousands of medications that it is possible to overdose on. Most medications, even when taken in overdose, will be safely cleared if a patient’s vital organ systems can be supported long enough. By thinking supportive care first the patient can be stabilized to allow time for an antidote, if available, to be selected and administered.
Members of my Hospital Pharmacy Academy have access to several in-depth trainings on the practical aspects of medication overdose, lipid rescue, opioid overdose, and tricyclic overdose with more trainings being added regularly. To join the Hospital Pharmacy Academy go to pharmacyjoe.com/academy.
If you like this post, check out my book – A Pharmacist’s Guide to Inpatient Medical Emergencies: How to respond to code blue, rapid response calls, and other medical emergencies.