In this episode, I’ll discuss the 4 categories of interventions to treat medication overdose and why antidote is not #1.
I consider the 4 categories of interventions to treat medication overdose to be:
#1 Supportive care
#2 Antidote therapy
#4 Enhance elimination
As pharmacists, it is easy to think of antidotes as the first or even only step to consider in medication overdose.
There are only about 40 antidotes versus the thousands of medications that it is possible to overdose on and even when one exists, antidote therapy is not always the first step that needs to be taken.
In fact, most medications, even when taken in overdose will be safely cleared if a patient’s vital organ systems can be supported long enough. And that’s why I think of supportive care as the mainstay of overdose treatment.
My thinking is that with putting supportive care first the patient can be stabilized to allow time for an antidote, if available, to be selected and administered along with interventions to provide for decontamination and enhancing elimination.
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.