Management of poisoning in adults
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Management of poisoning in adults

Janice Pettie Toxicology specialist nurse, National Poisons Information Service, Edinburgh
Margaret Dow Toxicology specialist nurse, National Poisons Information Service, Edinburgh

Nurses play a key role in the care of patients presenting with poisoning. Assessment and management of such patients can be challenging, especially if they are intoxicated, have co-ingested other agents or their mental health is compromised. In addition, some nurses may be unfamiliar with current management guidelines. This article outlines a number of protocols and initiatives aimed at improving consistency in the management of patients following an overdose. The article focuses on paracetamol poisoning, the most common overdose presentation in the UK. This article was updated on May 7 2013 to include current UK guidelines for management of paracetamol overdose, which changed in September 2012 following a review by the Commission on Human Medicines. In addition, the authors published recently an article in this journal that discussed the assessment and management of patients who present to hospital following a paracetamol overdose (Pettie and Dow 2013).

Nursing Standard. 27, 47, 43-49. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 02 May 2012

Accepted: 23 August 2012

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