• Poisoning may be intentional or unintentional
  • Patients with change in mental status without clear cause should have poisoning (intoxication, overdose) considered in differential diagnosis


  • Intentional:
    • Depression
    • Suicide
    • Homicide
    • Recreational drug abuse
  • Unintentional (accidental):
    • Common cause in children
    • Therapeutic error (e.g., double dose)
    • Recreational drug experimentation
    • Polypharmacy adverse drug reaction

Pediatric Considerations
  • Accidental ingestions – typically young children (1–5 yr)
  • Consider child abuse if inconsistent or suspicious history

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