Refers to techniques that reduce the exposure to a drug or toxin by either reducing absorption or increasing elimination. Following this section you should:
- understand the principles and applicability of decontamination
- develop a clinical approach that is based upon individual risk assessment
Virtually all actions in clinical toxicology should be based on a risk/benefit assessment.
- The risk assessment in the first instance is to calculate the risk of toxicity. At the most basic level (and to acknowledge Paracelsus) this could be the intrinsic toxicity of the drug multiplied by the dose. This assessment can often be refined by incorporating information from the history, physical examination, basic investigations and occasionally drug concentrations.
- We will deal with the risk assessment of individual toxins or drugs throughout the course
In those cases where the risk of toxicity appears high and an intervention is being considered the risk and benefit of that intervention needs to be considered. The intervention that most commonly needs to be considered is gastrointestinal decontamination