Background The Department of Pharmacy of the University Hospital of Ferrara (AOUFE) has been appointed Regional Centre of Reference for the supply of some antidotes by the Region Emilia Romagna (RER). In order to assess their availability, a qualitative-quantitative assessment of antidotes available in regional hospitals was carried out.
Purpose The authors looked particularly at antidotes supposed to be used within 30 min, (type A antidotes) which should be available in all hospitals.
Materials and methods All 17 regional hospitals were asked for information about the kind and the quantity of antidotes stocked. The number of potential poisoning victims treatable with the quantity in stock was calculated based on the maximum dosage.
Results All 17 regional hospitals provided the required information with the following results. Of the 27 type A antidotes The authors investigated, the stock for the maximum treatment of one patient was the following: 2 antidotes (activated charcoal, ipecacuanha) were available in 16 hospitals; 4 antidotes (atropine sulphate, calcium gluconate, physiostigmine and protamine sulphate) were available in 15 hospitals, and methylene blue was available in 14 hospitals. Eleven type A antidotes (pyridoxine, hydroxocobalamin, sodium bicarbonate, dantrolene, calcium folinate, polyethylene glycol 4000, MgSo4, diazepam, Fuller's earth, digoxin-specific antibodies, polyethylene glycol 4000, fomepizole) were available in fewer than 10 hospitals. Glucagon was not present in any hospital to treat a patient.
Conclusions Quantities of some antidotes available in regional hospitals were not sufficient to treat a single patient. This was the case for fomepizole, digoxin-specific antibodies and Fuller's earth among type A antidotes, and for Prussian blue, dimercaprol and pralidoxime among type B antidotes. Therefore, the need to provide many regional hospitals with higher stocks of antidotes is recognised.
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