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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 42

of 'Tricyclic antidepressant poisoning'

Plasma alkalinization for tricyclic antidepressant toxicity: a systematic review.
Blackman K, Brown SG, Wilkes GJ
Emerg Med (Fremantle). 2001;13(2):204.
OBJECTIVE: To review the evidence that plasma alkalinization improves the outcome in tricyclic antidepressant toxicity.
METHODS: Medline search from 1966 to October 2000 (articles in all languages were included) and examination of bibliographies. Published papers including animal studies, in vitro studies, human case reports, case series and retrospective studies were reviewed.
RESULTS: Our search identified 115 publications, all of which were retrieved. Human studies included eight case reports, four case series, one controlled study and two retrospective chart reviews. No randomized controlled human trials were found. Twelve animal studies were identified that investigated pH manipulation or saline load and their effects on physiological parameters in tricyclic antidepressant toxicity.
CONCLUSIONS: The practice of alkalinization for tricyclic antidepressant toxicity is based on animal studies, case reports and opinion. The mechanism of action appears to be multifaceted and may vary between different tricyclic antidepressants. Significant interspecies variation makes extrapolation from animal studies to humans difficult. Alkalinization therapy appears reasonable in patients with compromising dysrhythmias and shock when supportive interventions have been ineffective; however, the available evidence does not support prophylactic alkalinization in the absence of life-threatening cardiovascular toxicity.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart Tasmania, Australia. Konrad.Blackman@dchs.tas.gov.au