Elimination of opiates

Emesis is not recommended in cases of oral exposure to an opiate overdose because of the risk of central nervous system depression and seizures. However, a single oral dose of activated charcoal appears to be able to enhance the elimination of opiates; whole-bowel irrigation may provide an efficient and safe treatment for asymptomatic 'body-packers'.

When promptly treated and not complicated by acute pulmonary edema, aspiration pneumonia, or synergism with other drugs, opiate intoxication is generally easy to manage and the overall mortality rate is low. However, patients are prone to several life-threatening complications which are listed in Table 1...

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Table 1 Complications of opiate overdose

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