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CJEM. 2017 Jul;19(4):256-264. doi: 10.1017/cem.2016.396. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

A cohort study of unstable overdose patients treated with intravenous lipid emulsion therapy.

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*Department of Emergency Medicine,University of Alberta,Edmonton,AB.
§Department of Emergency Medicine,University of Calgary,Calgary,AB.
**Poison and Drug Information Service,Alberta Health Services,Calgary,AB.
‡‡Department of Emergency Medicine,University of Saskatchewan,Saskatoon,SK.
†Department of Pediatrics,University of Alberta,Edmonton,AB.



Intravenous lipid emulsion (ILE) has been used increasingly over the last decade for a range of drug overdoses. Although the use of ILE in local anesthetic toxicity (LAST) is well established, the hemodynamic effectiveness of ILE in non-LAST poisonings is still unclear. Thus, the primary objective of this study was to examine a cohort of poisoned patients in whom ILE was administered.


Consecutive patients were identified by calls to a regional poison center from May 1, 2012 to May 30, 2014. Patients were enrolled if they ingested a drug, developed hemodynamic instability, failed conventional treatment, and received ILE therapy. Data were collected by medical record review. The primary outcome was the change in mean arterial pressure (MAP) in the first hour after ILE administration. Secondary outcomes included survival, length of stay, and the effect of drug class on patient outcome.


Thirty-six patients were enrolled. Agents ingested included calcium channel blockers and beta blockers (10/36, 27.8%), tricyclic antidepressants (5/36, 13.9%), bupropion (3/36, 8.3%), and antiepileptic agents (1/36, 2.8%). Seventeen patients (47.2%) ingested multiple agents. Twenty-five patients survived (69.0%). Overall, MAP increased by 13.79 mm Hg (95% CI 1.43-26.15); this did not meet our a priori definition of clinical significance.


Our study did not find a clinically important improvement in MAP after ILE administration. Until future research is done to more definitively study its efficacy, ILE should remain a potential treatment option for hemodynamically unstable overdose patients only after conventional therapy has failed.


antidote; lipid emulsion; overdose; resuscitation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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