Therapeutic dosage vs. deadly overdose

Cyrus Rangan, MD, shares health advice for parents about when to tell if a child has had an overdose of a medication and what to do if they have
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Therapeutic dosage vs. deadly overdose

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When it comes to medications that we give to children on a regular basis, such as acetaminophen. These medications are usually quite safe for children, as long as they are given in therapeutic doses; but when a child comes into contact with something like this in an overdose. For example, if the child drinks a whole bottle or if several doses are given, unbeknownst to the other caregivers in the home; then the child get an overdose of acetaminophen. As a result, the child may need medical attention. It's important to note, there are certain medications, like acetaminophen, that don't really give you severe symptoms in the first several hours, maybe even up to 24 hours after exposure. The important thing to realize here is that just because a child looks good after a potentially severe overdose, that doesn't necessarily mean that symptoms won't pop up later. Give us a call at the Poison Control Center, and we can help you determine whether or not the overdose requires medical attention. Acetaminophen, while generally safe, can cause very toxicity to the liver, and in fact, can even cause death when taken in high doses. So we have an understanding that a drug can be very safe, in general, but can be very toxic if high enough doses are taken.

Cyrus Rangan, MD, shares health advice for parents about when to tell if a child has had an overdose of a medication and what to do if they have

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Cyrus Rangan, MD

Medical Toxicologist, Poison Control

Cyrus Rangan, MD, is a pediatrician and medical toxicologist. Cyrus serves as the Assistant Medical Director with the California Poison Control System and medical toxicology consultant for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Over 70% of the calls received at the center are able to stay at home and avoid a visit to the hospital, based on the over-the-phone support of the center. Cyrus is also the father of two boys, age seven and four, with whom he enjoys practicing Kung Fu. 

Poisons, Baby Safety, Poisons, Poison
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