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Drug Ingestion

more about Drug Ingestion


  • Taking into the mouth or swallowing a medication or drug which is any combination of these: 
    1. Not intended for that individual 
    2. Taken in large enough amounts to be possibly hazardous 
    3. Taken accidentally, or as a drug experimentation, or as a recreational drug

  • Symptoms depend on the ingestion:
    1. Methyl alcohol: acidosis, vision loss, mental status changes
    2. Aspirin: vomiting, metabolic acidosis in the preschool age group
    3. Iron tablets: vomiting, possibly gastrointestinal bleeding, Diarrhea, mental status changes, shock
    4. Lead: vomiting, Constipation, abdominal pain, mental status changes

  • Well-known drug ingestions in pediatrics:
  • Aspirin (salicylates) -- see "Poison Ingestion" entry
  • Iron tablets -- see ingestion of poison chapter
  • Recreational street drugs
  • Suicide attempts

  • Diagnosis utilizes compatible history, physical findings, and laboratory results, and in many cases identifying the drug in the patient's blood or urine.

  • Toddlers and preschool children
  • Physically overactive children; children who frequently climb to reach shelves
  • Disordered behavior

  • Treatment depends on the ingestion.  Many substances can be at least partially treated by induced emesis (vomiting).  Some drugs can be removed by causing a more rapid transit time in the bowel; or by hemodialysis; or by peritoneal dialysis.
  • Attention needs to be paid to the airway, the breathing, and the circulation.  The patient may need treatment with fluid and electrolytes for acidosis, alkalosis, or shock.

  • Often serious organ failure

  • Contact 911, a poison center, or a physician immediately, since prompt aid is essential!

  • Shock
  • Altered consciousness from any cause




more about Drug Ingestion


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