What Are Some Common Drugs and Their Antidotes?


Quick Answer

Acetaminophen is a common over-the-counter pain relief drug, the antidote for which is is N-acetylcysteine, while Flumazenil is the antidote for benzodiazepines, a commonly prescribed class of drugs, according to the Merck Manual. Drugs and chemical contaminants can sometimes be treated by the appropriate antidote when they have reached levels in the body sufficient to cause toxicity.

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Full Answer

It is usually necessary to receive a clinical diagnosis to determine the cause of poisoning, and not all drugs and contaminants have corresponding antidotes, the Merck Manual warns. Accidental poisoning happens most commonly amongst children; however, another common cause of poisoning is mixing recreational substances with medication, such as alcohol and acetaminophen. On rare occasions, drugs are used in acts of intentional poisoning. Drugs that typically are used to inflict intentional harm include sedatives or memory disrupting drugs such as benzodiazepines.

Some other drugs with specific antidotes include anticholinergic medications, which are used for treating asthma and spasmodic disorders. The antidote for this class of medications is physostigimine. Beta blockers, which are prescribed for hypertension and anxiety, have the specific antidote glucagon. The opiod drug class can be treated with the antidote naloxone, and Warfarin antidotes include vitamin K and prothrombin complex concentrate.

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