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JAMA. 1996 Nov 13;276(18):1508-10.

Insufficient stocking of poisoning antidotes in hospital pharmacies.

Author information

1
Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, Denver Department of Health and Hospitals, Denver, CO 80220, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether antidotes for poisoning and overdose are available in hospitals that provide emergency department care.

DESIGN:

Written survey of hospital pharmacy directors, each of whom reported the amount currently in stock of 8 different antidotes: antivenin (Crotalidae) polyvalent, cyanide kit, deferoxamine mesylate, digoxin immune Fab, ethanol, naloxone hydrochloride, pralidoxime chloride, and pyridoxine hydrochloride.

PARTICIPANTS:

Pharmacy directors of all hospitals with emergency departments in Colorado, Montana, and Nevada.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Proportions of hospitals with insufficient stocking of each antidote, defined as complete lack of the antidote or an amount inadequate to initiate treatment of 1 seriously poisoned 70-kg patient.

RESULTS:

Questionnaires were mailed to 137 hospital pharmacy directors and 108 (79%) responded. Only 1 (0.9%) of the 108 hospitals stocked all 8 antidotes in adequate amounts. The rate of insufficient stocking for individual antidotes ranged from 2% (for naloxone) to 98% (for digoxin immune Fab). In a multiple regression analysis, smaller hospital size and lack of a formal review of antidote stocking were independent predictors of the number of antidotes stocked insufficiently.

CONCLUSIONS:

Insufficient stocking of antidotes is a widespread problem in Colorado, Montana, and Nevada. Although these states are served by a certified regional poison center, potentially lifesaving antidotes are frequently not available when and where they might be needed to treat a single poisoned patient.

PMID:
8903263
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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