Antidotes for childhood toxidromes

Kam Lun Hon, Wun Fung Hui, Alexander KC Leung


Background: Poisoning causes significant morbidity and sometimes mortality in children worldwide. The clinical skill of toxidrome recognition followed by the timely administration of an antidote specific for the poison is essential for the management of children with suspected poisoning. This is a narrative review on antidotes for toxidromes in paediatric practice.

Methods: A literature search was conducted on PubMed with the keywords “antidote”, “poisoning”, “intoxication”, “children” and “pediatric”. The search was customized by applying the appropriate filters (species: humans; age: birth to 18 years) to obtain the most relevant articles for this review article.

Results: Toxidrome recognition may offer a rapid guide to possible toxicology diagnosis such that the specific antidote can be administered in a timely manner. This article summarizes toxidromes and their respective antidotes in paediatric poisoning, with an emphasis on the symptomatology and source of exposure. The antidote and specific management for each toxidrome are discussed. Antidotes are only available for a limited number of poisons responsible for intoxication. Antidotes for common poisonings include N-acetyl cysteine for paracetamol and sodium thiosulphate for poisoning by cyanide.

Conclusion: Poisoning is a common cause of paediatric injury. Physicians should be familiar with the recognition of common toxidromes and promptly use specific antidotes for the management of childhood toxidromes.

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Accepted: ; Published: .


Hon KL, Hui WF, Leung AKC. Antidotes for childhood toxidromes. Drugs in Context 2021; 10: 2020-11-4. DOI: 10.7573/dic.2020-11-4

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