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Med J Aust. 1988 Dec 5-19;149(11-12):686-8.

Overdose with chloral hydrate: a pharmacological and therapeutic review.

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St. Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW.


The purpose of this review is to highlight the toxicity of chloral hydrate and to review the management of overdoses with chloral hydrate. Three patients are presented in whom life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias dominated the clinical presentation. These arrhythmias were resistant to standard antiarrhythmic therapy. Also, we have reviewed selected features in eight patients who took overdoses of chloral hydrate who were admitted to an intensive care unit between 1981 and 1988. The pharmacology and toxicology of chloral hydrate are discussed with particular reference to the cardiac arrhythmias that are seen with overdosage. A proposed management scheme is detailed, including intravenously-administered propranolol as the preferred first-line antiarrhythmic agent. A case may be made for the discontinuation of the usage of chloral hydrate.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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