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Article: Volume 47 Number 5 Page 415 - May 2020

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  Dent Update 2020; 47: 415-420

Pharmacology:  The Recognition and Management of Patients who Overdose on Analgesics Secondary to Dental Pain

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Abstract: Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Codeine are all analgesics that patients in dental pain often use in an attempt to manage their symptoms. Consequently, cases of analgesic overdose may present to dental practitioners. It is vital that clinicians are able to identify these cases and assess if transfer to an emergency department is required for assessment, investigations and any necessary treatment. Failing to do so could lead to potentially fatal consequences, and the transfer of patients to the emergency department when not warranted results in a delay in dental treatment for patients, with an added strain on emergency department resources.

Clinical relevance: It has been reported that patients are more likely to overdose unintentionally on analgesics secondary to dental pain more than for any other reason, highlighting the importance of recognizing such cases.

Author notes: Joshua Lopez, BDS, MFDS, DCT Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Road, Sheffield, S10 2JF and Mark Greenwood, BDS, MDS, FDS RCS, MB, ChB, PhD, FRCS, FRCS(OMFS), FHEA, Consultant/Honorary Clinical Professor, School of Dental Sciences, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4BW, UK.

Objective: To provide a summary for the dental practitioner on the recognition of cases of analgesic overdose of paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine.

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