Drug overdose

Key Information

Appropriate Tests


See also Forensic toxicology.

Urea, Electrolytes, Glucose, Liver function tests, drug level, Full blood count, Blood gas arterial,  consider Creatine kinase.

See Guideline on Pathology testing in the Emergency department: Appendix 2.


Plasma concentration of drug(s) is the investigation of choice, if the test is available and confirmation of overdose is required.

Consult pathologist for specimen collection requirements.

If the specific drug is uncertain, or other drug(s) suspected: Drugs of abuse screen (urine) may be of value - specify likely drug(s) and the clinical findings considered to be drug related.

Because of the frequency and severity of paracetamol overdose, Paracetamol level (serum) should be measured in all patients.

See Paracetamol overdose

Assess organ function, as indicated clinically.

Contact local Poisons Information Centre for specific toxicity information.

See also Anticoagulant monitoring, Poisoning

CNS depression/dysfunction


Cardiac arrhythmias


Other organ damage


  • Liver dysfunction

Especially Paracetamol overdose

  • Renal dysfunction




Electrolyte abnormalities




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