Toxicology Handbook book cover

Toxicology Handbook

An updated guide to the approach, assessment and management of poisoned patients

Poisoning is a common emergency department presentation, and is the third major cause of hospital admission in Australia.

The new edition of this all-encompassing toxicology reference describes the risk assessment-based approach pioneered by its principal authors.

The Toxicology Handbook is written for hospital-based doctors at all levels and is divided into six sections, including an approach to the poisoned patient, specific toxins, antidotes, toxinology and antivenom.

It also deals with specific toxicology considerations like alcohol abuse, dependence and withdrawal, and poisoning in children and the elderly. Important locally relevant information on bites, stings and envenoming is also included.

The concise layout of this didactic medical guide enables readers to quickly locate required information - essential in a poisoning emergency.

Established as a primary reference in Australian Poisons Information Centres, the Toxicology Handbook is useful for doctors, nurses, ambulance service paramedics and pharmacists alike.


Published: December 2010

Imprint: Churchill Livingstone

ISBN: 978-0-7295-7939-1


  • Section 1: Introduction

    • Who are the authors
    • Scope of the book
      • Handbook of acute management of common poisonings.
      • Hands on and practical approach.
      • Rationale for drugs included

    • How to use the book
    • Universal disclaimer

    Clinical: Approach to the poisoned patient

    • Overview of approach to toxicology/toxinology
    • Principles of risk assessment-based approach
    • Resuscitation, Risk assessment, Supportive care, Decontamination, Investigations, Enhanced elimination, Antidotes, Disposition

    Section 2: Approach to specialist toxicology problems

    • Approach to special problems: Approach to snakebite, mushroom poisoning, plant poisoning
    • Toxidromes: Serotonin syndrome, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, anticholinergic syndrome, cholinergic syndrome
    • Important poisoning manifestations and management: Seizures, coma, hypotension, delirium and agitation
    • Drugs of abuse and withdrawal syndromes: Alcohol, amphetamines, opiods, sedative hypnotics, body packers and stuffers
    • Investigations: Laboratory results: acidosis, anion gap and osmolar gap, recommended baseline investigations with interpretation. Unit conversion table: ECG interpretation in poisoning: Radiology.
    • Special populations: Paediatric poisoning: 1 tablet can kill (list), special precautions in management (overnight stay, paracetamol, risk of charcoal etc); Pregnancy and lactation and poisoning; and Geriatric poisoning

    Section 3: Toxic Drugs (78 chapters)

    • Approach to diagnosis, investigation and management of the poisoned patient with all of the common drug presentations. Updated with 8 new drug chapters as per readers nominations and feedback

    Section 4: Antidotes (29 chapters)

    • Detailed description of indications, contraindications, clinical administration and therapeutic end-points for all antidotes. New chapter on Intralipid, the latest development in antidote therapy

    Section 5: Toxinology (16 chapters)

    • Approach to snakebite, spider and marine envenoming. New chapter on tick envenoming

    Section 6: Antivenom (11 chapters)

    • Detailed description of indications, contraindications, clinical administration and therapeutic end-points for all antivenoms

    Appendices Sample ECGs from poisoned patients; Drug concentrations and unit conversion chart; Guide to the management of allergic reaction to antivenom


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