CPD Articles

An approach to the management of acute poisoning in emergency settings

Ramprakash Kaswa
South African Family Practice | Vol 66, No 1 : Part 2| a5841 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v66i1.5841 | © 2024 Ramprakash Kaswa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 October 2023 | Published: 27 February 2024

About the author(s)

Ramprakash Kaswa, Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa; and Department of Health, Mthatha Regional Hospital, Mthatha, South Africa


The impact of poisoning can differ significantly depending on the specific substance consumed. Identifying toxic substances in a patient is crucial to obtaining a thorough medical history. Frontline healthcare providers in the emergency department often handle patients presenting with poisoning. Their clinical presentation can vary depending on their dose, duration of exposure, and pre-existing medical conditions. Initially, poisoning management entails administering supportive care such as absorption and enhancing the elimination of poison with charcoal and antidote administration after identifying the poisoning substances. This article aims to provide a basic overview of the concepts involved in evaluating and managing these individuals.


poison; toxic substances; absorption; antidote; elimination


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