help get fast action when a poisoning occurs
Technicians can help get fast action when a poisoning occurs.
Time is of the essence. Antidotes must be given FAST...before toxic effects can cause serious harm.
People often call the pharmacist to inquire about a possible poisoning. Don't let these calls languish on hold. Get the pharmacist on the line fast...and/or get the caller to call the nationwide poison control center number... 800-222-1222.
Also keep up this quick action when you're dispensing an antidote.
New orders. Stay alert for common antidote Rxs...acetylcysteine (Acetadote) for an acetaminophen overdose or fomepizole (Antizol) for antifreeze poisoning.
Watch for orders for common meds used to treat overdoses...such as calcium, glucagon, and insulin for beta-blocker overdoses.
Follow your pharmacy's procedures for prioritizing these orders.
Dispensing. Med errors are common with antidote infusions...
about 1 in 3 acetylcysteine Rxs results in an error. Label infusions clearly with dose, concentration, infusion rate, etc to avoid mix-ups.
Check with the pharmacist before mixing high-cost items. A single dose of some antivenoms (CroFab) or digoxin immune Fab (Digibind, DigiFab) can cost THOUSANDS of dollars. Verify you have enough in stock for a remix in case of error...and restock right away.
Always verify repeat doses are needed BEFORE you mix them...
drug therapy for poisoned patients can change on a dime.
Inventory. Check for outdated antidotes monthly if possible to ensure you have needed items in stock...and they're not expired.
Keep in mind that some antidotes are stocked in the emergency department...such as charcoal, flumazenil, glucagon, naloxone, etc.
Use our new PTL chart, Drugs for Common Medication Overdoses and Poisonings, for recommendations on how much to stock.