Glucagon treatment for symptomatic beta blocker overdose


Symptomatic beta blocker overdose is a relatively uncommon, but potentially life-threatening condition (Sheppard, 2006; Health Protection Agency, 2010). Current definitive treatment for these patients involves intravenous glucagon therapy, and as such, glucagon is considered both a first-line treatment and an antidote in cases of symptomatic beta blocker overdose (Joint Formulary Committee, 2011; National Poisons Information Service, 2011a; 2011b). This case report examines an intentional overdose of propranolol, including paramedic prehospital management, and subsequent in-hospital definitive treatment involving intravenous glucagon therapy. Paramedics have experience and knowledge of administering intramuscular glucagon as part of their formulary, and possess the necessary skills for obtaining intravenous access. Therefore, could intravenous glucagon be considered appropriate for administration by paramedics as a prehospital intervention in cases of symptomatic beta blocker overdose?

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