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ISMP Canada News

July 25, 2018: Antidotes and Related Agents: Recognition of Need, Availability, and Effective Use

Antidotes and reversal, neutralizing, decontamination, and rescue agents (referred to collectively as "antidotes" in this bulletin) are medications used to counteract the effects of toxicity caused by a drug overdose or by inadvertent exposure to a medication or hazardous substance, or resulting from a physiological imbalance (e.g., electrolyte abnormality). These medications can be life-saving. However, the ability of an agent to mitigate patient harm depends not only on its pharmacological mechanism of action, but also on its correct and timely administration. ISMP Canada recently received several reports of incidents and near misses involving the use of an antidote. This bulletin highlights 3 key vulnerabilities that compromise the safety and efficacy of antidotes and suggests strategies for healthcare organizations to overcome these challenges.  Read more ...