Some antidotes that nurses should know include acetylcysteine, or Mucomyst; activated charcoal; anticholinesterase agents; atropine sulphate; and benzylpenicillin, as suggested by Nurseslabs. Calcium salts, deferoxamine, dimercapol and diphenhydramine, or Benadryl, are also commonly used antidotes that nurses should know in case of emergencies.
An antidote counters chemical- or drug-induced poisoning, and familiarization with antidotes saves time when nurses are confronted with emergencies. Antidotes such as acetylcystenine commonly treat acetaminophen or paracetamol poisoning. It protects against hepatic and renal failure while restoring depleted glutathione stores. Hospitals commonly use dimercapol for cases of lead poisoning. Dimercapol is also an effective antidote against poisoning due to endogenous metals, such as zinc, manganese, iron and copper, states Nurseslabs.
Activated charcoal counters nonspecific poisons by absorbing the substance, although it is not effective in countering the effects of cyanide, alcohol, lithium, iron and caustics. Calcium salts effectively counter fluoride ingestion. Naloxone deals quickly with complications arising from narcotics ingestion, as Nurseslabs states. A good knowledge of antidotes helps nursing staff respond quickly and efficiently to symptoms of poisoning even in the absence of doctors. While knowing the antidote for a specific poisoning is important, it is equally important to know the exact mode or route of administering the antidote.