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Aspirin Poisoning (cont.)

Aspirin Poisoning Next Steps

  • Patients with major signs and symptoms (for example, neurological, cardiopulmonary, and metabolic) may be admitted to an intensive care unit under the care of a medical toxicologist, if available. Psychiatric service personnel may be consulted for patients with intentional overdose.
  • Patients with minor signs and symptoms (for example, tinnitus and nausea) may be admitted to an extended care observational unit or medical floor.
  • The following patients will be admitted to the hospital, regardless of salicylate levels:
    • Infants and elderly persons
    • Individuals with long-term salicylism
    • Those with ingestions of sustained-release products

Aspirin Poisoning Follow-up

People with acute, single ingestions of non-entericcoated aspirin of less than 150 mg/kg who have no symptoms and have a nontoxic aspirin level after 6 hours may be released from the hospital. All others with aspirin poisoning will likely be treated in the emergency department, then hospitalized for further treatment and observation.

  • Psychiatric and medical follow-up may be recommended.
  • Careful monitoring of medication intake will be recommended.
  • Tests to monitor kidney function may be ordered periodically after hospital discharge, especially in the elderly.

Aspirin Poisoning Prevention

Prescription medications should be used according to a doctor's and pharmacist's directions.

  • Never take a medicine prescribed for someone else.
  • To protect children from accidental drug overdose, all medications should be stored in containers with child-resistant caps. All medications should be out of sight and out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Take suicidal threats seriously.
  • Never give or take medication in the dark.
  • Always tell the doctor of any previous side effects or adverse reactions to medication as well as any new or unusual symptoms that occur.
  • Never take more than the recommended or prescribed dose of a medication.
  • Inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking. Be sure to mention over-the-counter medications.

Aspirin Poisoning Prognosis

Recovery is likely if the proper treatment is given and the dose of aspirin taken is not too high.

Signs and symptoms as well as prognosis in chronic aspirin poisoning are less predictable. In the case of acute aspirin poisoning, symptom severity can be predicted by the dose ingested.

  • Less than 150 milligrams of aspirin per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) - no symptoms to mild toxicity
  • Ingestions of 150-300 mg/kg - mild to moderate toxicity
  • Ingestions of 300-500 mg/kg - serious toxicity
  • Greater than 500 mg/kg - potentially lethal

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCES: Salicylate Toxicity.

Last Reviewed 11/20/2017
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Toxicity, Salicylate »

The use of salicylates dates back 2500 years to when Hippocrates recommended the use of willow bark to relieve the pain of childbirth.

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