Management of Acetaminophen Poisoning in the US and Canada: A Consensus Statement

Richard C. Dart, Michael E. Mullins, Theresa Matoushek, Anne Michelle Ruha, Michele M. Burns, Karen Simone, Michael C. Beuhler, Kennon J. Heard, Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi, Christine M. Stork, Shawn M. Varney, Alexandra R. Funk, Lee F. Cantrell, Jon B. Cole, William Banner, Andrew I. Stolbach, Robert G. Hendrickson, Scott N. Lucyk, Marco L.A. Sivilotti, Mark K. SuLewis S. Nelson, Barry H. Rumack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Importance: The US and Canada currently have no formal published nationwide guidelines for specialists in poison information or emergency departments for the management of acetaminophen poisoning, resulting in significant variability in management. Objective: To develop consensus guidelines for the management of acetaminophen poisoning in the US and Canada. Evidence Review: Four clinical toxicology societies (America's Poison Centers, American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, American College of Medical Toxicology, and Canadian Association of Poison Control Centers) selected participants (n = 21). Led by a nonvoting chairperson using a modified Delphi method, the panel created a decision framework and determined the appropriate clinical management of a patient with acetaminophen poisoning. Unique to this effort was the collection of guidelines from most poison centers in addition to systematic collection and review of the medical literature. Comments from review by external organizations were incorporated before the guideline was finalized. The project began in March 2021 and ended in March 2023. Findings: The search retrieved 84 guidelines and 278 publications. The panel developed guidelines for emergency department management of single or repeated ingestion of acetaminophen. In addition, the panel addressed extended-release formulation, high-risk ingestion, coingestion of anticholinergics or opioids, age younger than 6 years, pregnancy, weight greater than 100 kg, and intravenous acetaminophen use. Differences from current US practice include defining acute ingestion as an ingestion presentation from 4 to 24 hours after overdose was initiated. A revised form of the Rumack-Matthew nomogram was developed. The term massive ingestion was replaced with the term high-risk ingestion and denoted by a specific nomogram line. Other recommendations include specific criteria for emergency department triage, laboratory evaluation and monitoring parameters, defining the role of gastrointestinal decontamination, detailed management of acetylcysteine treatment, associated adverse effects, and stopping criteria for acetylcysteine treatment, as well as criteria for consultation with a clinical toxicologist. Finally, specific treatment considerations, including acetylcysteine dosing, fomepizole administration, and considerations for extracorporeal elimination and transplant evaluation, were addressed. Conclusions and Relevance: This qualitative study provides a consensus statement on consistent evidence-based recommendations for medical, pharmacy, and nursing education and practice to optimize care of patients with acetaminophen poisoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2327739
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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