June 17, 1968

Treatment of Common Acute Poisonings

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC


by Henry Matthew and Alexander A. H. Lawson, 151 pp, $5.25, Edinburgh and London: E. & S. Livingstone Ltd. (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Co.), 1968.

JAMA. 1968;204(12):1150. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140250130031

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This compendium on the treatment of common acute poisonings reflects the authors' experience in Scotland, where 80% of the incidence is due to self-poisoning in an age group of 18 to 25 years. This is in marked contrast to the United States, where the reverse is true. Because of the preponderance of small children involved, acute poisoning here is mainly a pediatric problem.

The lack of enthusiasm for the use of syrup of ipecac as an emetic will be questioned by most pediatricians and others working in this area. The same might be said for the safe dose of apomorphine (followed by levallorphan tartrate [Lorfan], a narcotic antagonist), which is being used in some medical centers exclusively and effectively because of its prompt action. The chapter on "Basic Principles of Psychiatric Treatment," necessitated by the self-poisoning group, is brief and informative, with material usually not found in books of this