Over 2.5 million accidental and intentional drug-related poisonings are reported annually in the United States. Early diagnosis and management of patients who present with acute intoxication can significantly reduce both morbidity and mortality. The initial evaluation of patients with suspected or proven intoxications should focus on hemodynamic stability, mental status, and respiratory function. However, early recognition of toxic ingestion is paramount to implementing life-saving treatments. Important historical clues are often found in a social history that considers intravenous drug use, alcohol use, and any access or exposure to illicit substances. A patient's medication list should also be scrutinized for psychoactive or sedative medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants or opioids. In this article we present case-based discussions of the specific diagnosis and management of 5 commonly occurring acute intoxication syndromes.
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