UMEM Educational Pearls - By Fermin Barrueto

Category: Toxicology

Title: Activated Charcoal

Keywords: Gastrointestinal decontamination, activated charcoal, poisoning (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/19/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Gastrointestinal Decontamination - Activated Charcoal Pharmacist P.f. Touery, in 1831, making a demonstration of the effectiveness of charcoal before the French academy of Medicine, survived after swallowing 15 g of strychnine (10x lethal dose) and an equal amount of charcoal - 3 tablespoons. (That's for you Dr. Rolnick) - Assess the patients' chance of becoming unresponsive or vomiting in relation to the ingestion if known. - Maximal benefit if given within 1 hour of ingestion, drug is likely still in the stomach. - No study has yet to show decrease in morbidity or mortality when empirically given to all ingestions. - Only one study has shown multi-dose activated charcoal to decrease morbidity and mortality and that was with a drug (oleander is like digoxin) that is enterohepatically metabolized. de Silva HA, et al. Multiple-dose activated charcoal for treatment of yellow oleander poisoning: a single-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2003 Jun 7;361(9373):1935-8.

Category: Toxicology

Title: One Pill Killers for Children

Keywords: pediatric, poisoning, overdose (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/12/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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One Pill Killers for Children Drug Class Mechanism of Action that Kills Sulfonylureas These hypoglycemic agents (ie. Glyburide) also have a long t Opioids Respiratory depression Imidazoline Clonidine and Oxymetazolone (nasal spray) cause bradycardia and respiratory depression Ca Channel Blockers Bradycardia & hypotension, especially diltiazem and verapamil Beta Blockers Extended release preparations are problematic There are some others but these are the most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals. Remember, children under age 6 will not be able to swallow a pill and the pill itself is choking hazard. Proper poison prevention education for the parents is also needed.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Heavy Metal Poisoning Clues for Diagnosis

Keywords: metal, poisoning, thallium (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Heavy Metal Poisoning Clues for Diagnosis Mees lines, indication of arrested nail growth, occurs in lead, arsenic and others Most heavy metals will cause a proteinuria Microcytic anemia and basophilic stippling seen in lead, arsenic, mercury Peripheral neuropathies in otherwise healthy person Thallium causes classic painful paresthesias in lower extremities

Category: Toxicology

Title: Cyanide

Keywords: cyanide, poisoning, hydroxycobalamin (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Cyanide Presents with arterialization of venous blood (venous blood draw looks like ABG) Reason: o Hemoglobin is not able to offload oxygen o CN poisons cytochrome c oxidase preventing conversion of oxygen to water and thus production of ATP Old antidote: sodium thiosulfate New antidote: hydroxycobalamin binds CN producing cyanocobalamin (Vit B12) When you give it expects a dip in pulse because of its blue color. Remember CN will give you a beautiful 100% pulse all the way to death. Lee J, et al. Potential interference by hydroxocobalamin on cooximetry hemoglobin measurements during cyanide and smoke inhalation treatments. Ann Emerg Med. 2007 Jun;49(6):802-5. Epub 2007 Jan 8.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Hydrofluoric Acid (HF)

Keywords: hydrofluoric acid, hypocalcemia, burn (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) Used in glass etching, brick/porcelain cleaning and available in hardware stores Death has been reported after JUST 2-3% body surface area exposure! Systemic toxicity: hypocalcemia, hyperkalemia and hypomagensemia Local effects: paucity of skin findings with tremendous pain Treatment: skin decontamination, correct electrolyte abnormalities and topical calcium gel for local pain Mayer TG, GrossPI. Fatal systemic fluoride due to hydrofluoric acid burns. Ann Emerg Med 1985; 14: 149-153.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Toxic Alcohols

Keywords: Ethylene glycol, methanol, toxic alcohol (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Toxic Alcohols Unexplained anion gap metabolic acidosis => give fomepizole (antidote) Hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, elevated creatinine => think ethlylene glycol Visual disturbances => think methanol Ketosis without acidosis and high osmol gap => think isopropanol If osmol gap is >70; high specificity for a toxic alcohol ingestion

Category: Toxicology

Title: Acetaminophen Toxicity

Keywords: acetaminophen, hepatic failure, hepatitis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Acetaminophen Toxicity Hepatoxicity defined by AST >1000 King s College Criteria to prognosticate hepatic failure and need for transplant: o pH <7.3 o Creatinine >3.4 mg/dL o INR >6.5 o Hepatic encephalopathy Grade III or IV Low phosphate (<1.2 mmol/L) may be predictor of survival and elevated may be indicator of impending hepatic failure. (Especially 48 96 hrs post-ingestion) o Theory is phosphate used in regeneration/healing liver Gow PJ, Sood S, Angus PW. Serum phosphate as a predictor of outcome in acetaminophen-induced fulminant hepatic failure. Hepatology. 2003; 37(3):711.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Botulinum Toxin

Keywords: botulinum toxin, paralysis, heroin (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Botulinum Toxin Most potent toxin on the planet where 7 picograms IV are lethal to a human Characterized by a descending flaccid paralysis w/o fever bulbar findings 1st Weapon of Mass Destruction but also seen in the IVDA Heroin population Black Tar Heroin outbreak with necrotic ulcers that produced C. botulinum o Most recently in Washington DC 2003 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wound botulism among black tar heroin users--Washington, 2003. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003;52(37):885-6.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Diagnosing Salicylate Toxicity

Keywords: Salicylate, aspirin, ferric chloride (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Diagnosing Salicylate Toxicity - Acute ingestion can initiially present with nausea, vomiting and a respiratory alkalosis - Toxicity defined by an anion gap metabolic acidosis with ketosis and normal glucose - Ferric chloride test (can get from chemistry set): couple of drops into urine, if it changes color to deep purple sensitive positive for presence of salicylate (sensitive but not specific)

Category: Toxicology

Title: Hyperthermia

Keywords: hyperthermia, serotonin syndrome, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Hyperthermia Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (Dopamine Inhibition): treat with bromocriptine Serotonin Syndrome (5-HT1A agonism): treat with serotonin antagonist Malignant Hyperthermia (Genetic): treat with dantrolene

Category: Toxicology

Title: Lithium Toxicity Management

Keywords: lithium, renal failure, neurologic (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Lithium Toxicity Management Initial Therapy: 2x maintenance fluid with normal saline Hemodialysis is controversial but will remove lithium quickly Association of permanent neurologic sequelae with elevated lithium level(1) o Looks like a cerebellar stroke 1- Adityanjee. The syndrome of irreversible lithium-effectuated neurotoxicity (SILENT). Pharmacopsychiatry. 1989 Mar;22(2):81-3.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Digoxin Toxicity

Keywords: digoxin, cardiac glycoside, toxicity (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Digoxin Toxicity Most common finding on ECG when digoxin toxic: PVCs Most classic ECG in digoxin toxicity: PAT with block Pathognomonic finding (RARE): Bidirectional ventricular tachycardia Easy formula for administration of digoxin specific Fab (Digibind?? or DigiFab?). Remember to round up even if its 2.3 vials, give 3. [(Dig Serum Concentration(ng/mL)) x wt(kg)] / 100 = # vials

Category: Toxicology

Title: Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)

Keywords: tricyclic antidepressant, electrocardiogram, cardiac toxicity (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA) - Lack of terminal 40msec R wave (R wave in AvR, S wave in I, AvL) means the patient is NOT TCA toxic. - 40msec R wave + QRS >100msec = possible TCA toxicity, treat with NaHCO3 and recheck ECG. - TCA toxicity defined by ECG; if QRS > 100msec, 33% seizures; if QRS > 160msec, 50% v tach Boehnert MT, Lovejoy FH Jr. Value of the QRS duration versus the serum drug level in predicting seizures and ventricular arrhythmias after an acute overdose of tricyclic antidepressants. N Engl J Med. 1985 Aug 22;313(8):474-9.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Urine Drug Screens

Keywords: drug abuse, urine drug screen, cocaine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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Urine Drug Screens Though we order them often, be sure you know what your results mean: Cannabinoids: an accurate test though clinically not important information, positive for 5 days to a full month with chronic users. Cocaine: the most accurate and precise test, positive for 3-5 days. Amphetamine: the most imprecise with many false positives and false negatives. Cough/cold preparations that contain pseudephedrine, phenylephrine or other decongestants can turn it falsely positive. BDZ: only benzodiazepines that are metabolized to oxazepam will turn positive. You can see false negatives with alprazolam and even lorazepam. Opioids: Semisynthetics like oxycodone and hydrocodone may give false negatives at low levels. This screen will NOT catch methadone, meperidine, fentanyl, propoxyphene, tramadol. PCP: False positives from dextromethorphan and ketamine

Category: Toxicology

Title: Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse - The Pattern of Abuse

Keywords: opioids, toxicology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/20/2014 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/17/2019) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
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The pattern of prescription drug abuse continues to center around semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Federal regulations have now raised hydrocodone to a schedule II drug like oxycodone. Despite efforts, the slope for natural and semisynthetic opioids remains steep.  The ED measures of education, limit prescriptions for acute pain, minimize number of days/pills prescribed and utlize the prescription drug monitoring program are some basics that can assist you in better prescribing habits.

Show References


Category: Toxicology

Title: Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse - The Pattern of Abuse

Keywords: opioids, toxicology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/20/2014 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/17/2019) (Updated: 7/17/2019)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

The pattern of prescription drug abuse continues to center around semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Federal regulations have now raised hydrocodone to a schedule II drug like oxycodone. Despite efforts, the slope for natural and semisynthetic opioids remains steep.  The ED measures of education, limit prescriptions for acute pain, minimize number of days/pills prescribed and utlize the prescription drug monitoring program are some basics that can assist you in better prescribing habits.

Show References