How is acetaminophen toxicity/poisoning managed?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020
  • Author: Susan E Farrell, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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Answer

Gastrointestinal decontamination agents can be used in the emergency setting during the immediate postingestion time frame. Administer activated charcoal (AC) if the patient is alert and presents, ideally, within 1 hour post ingestion. This time frame can be extended if the patient has ingested an acetaminophen-based sustained-release medication or if the ingestion includes agents that are known to slow gastric emptying. Patients with acetaminophen concentrations below the “possible" line for hepatotoxicity on the Rumack-Matthew nomogram may be discharged home after they are medically cleared.


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