Drug Overdose Overview
Overdoses of drugs or chemicals can be either accidental or intentional. Drug overdoses occur when a person takes more than the medically recommended dose. However, some people may be more sensitive to certain medications so that the high end of the therapeutic range of a drug may be toxic for them.
Illicit drugs, used to get high, may be taken in overdose amounts when a person's metabolism cannot detoxify the drug fast enough to avoid unintended side effects.
Exposure to chemicals, plants, and other toxic substances that can cause harm are called poisonings. The higher the dose or the longer the exposure, the worse the poisoning. Two examples are carbon monoxide poisoning and mushroom poisoning.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/29/2014
Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
James S Cohen, MD
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