George R Uhl Valina Dawson Revised by Rebecca J Frey

ANTIDOTE A medication or treatment that counteracts a poison or its effects. An antidote may work by reducing or blocking the absorption of a poison from the stomach. It might counteract its effects directly, as in taking something to neutralize an acid. Or an antidote might work by blocking a poison at its receptor site. For example, a medication called naloxone will block opiates such as heroin at its receptors and prevent deaths that occur because of heroin overdose. In a sense, drug ANTAGONISTS can all be antidotes under some circumstances, but not all antidotes are drug antagonists.

Many cities have a telephone ''poison hot line,'' where information on antidotes is given. In case of drug overdose or poisoning, it is advisable to call for expert medical help immediately.


Baldessarini, R. J. (1990). Drugs and the treatment of psychiatric disorders. In A. G. Gilman et al. (Eds.), Goodman and Gilman's the pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 8th ed. New York: Peragamon.

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