[Acute salicylate poisoning]

Dagmara Reingardiene, Robertas Lazauskas
Medicina 2006, 42 (1): 79-83
Although aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) has become widely available without prescription, cases of self-poisoning due to overdose of salicylates are quite uncommon, with a low reported mortality. However, severe poisoning with these preparations is life threatening. Besides the aspirin, there are other sources of salicylate poisoning, such as an excessive application of topical agents, ingestion of salicylate containing ointments, use of keratolytic agents or agents containing methyl salicylate (e.g. oil of wintergreen). Most of these preparations are liquid, highly concentrated and lipid soluble, and, therefore, they are able to provoke a severe, rapid salicylate poisoning. On the basis of clinical and metabolic features or salicylate concentration in plasma it is very important to diagnose severe poisoning with salicylates in time and prescribe an adequate treatment. In the present review article various aspects of salicylate poisoning and its treatment are discussed: epidemiology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of salicylates, clinical manifestations of their toxicity, management, enhanced elimination and prognosis.

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