Medical toxicology

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Medical toxicology, is a medical subspecialty focusing on the diagnosis, management and prevention of poisoning and other adverse health effects due to medications, occupational and environmental toxicants, and biological agents. Medical toxicologists are involved in the assessment and treatment of acute or chronic poisoning, adverse drug reactions (ADR), overdoses, envenomations, and substance abuse, and other chemical exposures.

Medical toxicology is officially recognized as a medical subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Its practitioners are physicians, whose primary specialization is generally in emergency medicine, occupational medicine or pediatrics.

Medical toxicology is closely related to clinical toxicology with the latter discipline encompassing non-physicians as well (generally pharmacists or scientists).

Clinical evaluation[edit]

The types of patients evaluated by physicians who specialize in medical toxicology include:

  • Unintentional and intentional overdoses of prescription and nonprescription medications
  • Drugs of abuse
  • Exposure to industrial chemical products and environmental hazards
  • Envenomations and other natural toxins

Professional services and venues[edit]

Emergency departments, intensive care units, and other in-patient units where they provide direct treatment and bedside consultation of acutely poisoned adults and children. Outpatient clinics, offices, and job sites where they evaluate the health impact from acute and chronic exposure to toxic substances in the workplace, home and general environment. Regional poison control centers and other public health entities.

Medical schools, universities, and clinical training sites where they teach, research, and provide advanced evidence based patient care. Industry and commerce where they contribute to pharmaceutical research and drug safety. Governmental agencies including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration. Clinical and forensic laboratories where they analyze and interpret of diagnostic tests and forensic studies.

See also[edit]

Additional information[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Nelson, Lewis S.; Lewin Neal; Howland Mary Ann; Hoffman, Robert S.; Goldfrank, Lewis R.; Flomenbaum, Neal (2010). Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies, 9th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, Medical Pub. Division. ISBN 0-07-143763-0. 
  • Dart, Richard C. (2003). Medical Toxicology. Phila: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-2845-2.