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Phenothiazine, butyrophenone, and other psychotropic medication poisonings in children and adolescents



Phenothiazine, butyrophenone, and other psychotropic medication poisonings in children and adolescents



Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology 38(6): 615-623



To describe the presentation, epidemiology, management, and outcome of phenothiazine and butyrophenone ingestions in children requiring hospitalization. Retrospective case series in two pediatric hospitals. Eighty-six cases were identified among 83 patients. The majority (69.7%) of ingestions occurred in children <6 years of age and there was no gender predominance. These ingestions were more common in African Americans (65.1%). They occurred more commonly in the patient's (64.0%) or a relative's (22.1%) home and haloperidol and thioridazine accounted for 58.1% of exposures. Depressed levels of consciousness and dystonia were the most common presenting signs, present in 90.7% and 51.2% of patients, respectively. Miosis occurred in only 13.9% of the patients. Fluid boluses were administered to 28.7% of the patients but about a quarter of these had coingested potentially cardiotoxic drugs. In addition, 2 of the 12 (13.9%) patients with abnormal electrocardiograms had also ingested potentially cardiotoxic drugs. Numerous diagnostic tests were performed in these patients including electrolyte panels (80.2%), complete blood counts (69.8%), liver function tests (31.4%), serum osmolality (20.9%), blood cultures (10.5%), lumbar punctures (17.4%), head computed tomographies (15.1%), and electroencephalograms (3.5%). The median length of hospitalization was 1.78 (range 1-9) days and there were no deaths. Patients presenting with dystonias were more likely to have extensive diagnostic testing for neurologic disease than those presenting without dystonias. The presentation of phenothiazine and butyrophenone ingestions in children and adolescents may be nonspecific and confounded by coingestants. Patients with dystonias had more extensive neurologic testing than patients without dystonias, suggesting that physicians may not recognize dystonias as a clinical finding characteristic of phenothiazine or butyrophenone exposure.

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Accession: 046973608

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PMID: 11185968


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