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Aspirin Overdose

more about Aspirin Overdose

  • Aspirin is a common over-the-counter pain/fever reducer.  Aspirin is also found in combination with some over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as Excedrin, Anacin, Fiorinal, and Percodan.
  • Aspirin taken at higher-than-recommended doses can cause severe toxicity.  At a biochemical level, aspirin interferes with the normal energy-producing pathways (aerobic metabolism).  This results in the body using a different pathway (anaerobic metabolism) -- creating excessive Lactic acid and heat.
  • Aspirin also causes inflammation of the stomach lining and Gastritis or bleeding ulcers.  Aspirin overdose can occur by taking a large amount at one time, or by taking lower doses over a continuous period.

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Heart racing
  • Ringing in ears
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Coma

  • Accidental overuse
  • Taking products you did not know contained aspirin (see above)
  • Suicide attempts

  • Examination:
    1. Fever
    2. Fast heart rate
    3. Rapid deep breathing
    4. Crackles in lungs (if Pulmonary Edema)
    5. Mental status changes
  • Laboratory Findings:
    1. Arterial blood gas is abnormal
    2. Prothrombin time (a measure of clotting ability) is elevated (therefore blood is "thinner" and more likely to result in bleeding)
    3. Elevated Anion Gap (abnormal blood chemistries)

  • Gastric lavage ("stomach pumped")
  • Activated charcoal -- binds aspirin so it cannot be absorbed
  • Intravenous Sodium Bicarbonate for metabolic acidosis
  • Alkalinize the urine
  • Hemodialysis (kidney machine used temporarily) in severe cases

  • You need immediate emergency medical treatment.  Aspirin overdose is very serious and can cause death.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol overdose)

more about Aspirin Overdose

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