ß-adrenergic receptor blocking drugs are used in the treatment of hypertension, angina, myocardial infarction, cardiac dysrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, migraine headache, thyrotoxicosis, and glaucoma. ß-adrenergic receptor blocking agents are competitive antagonist at ß1, ß2, or both types of adrenergic receptors. Overdoses of ß-adrenergic receptor blockers are uncommon, but are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This review article discusses the properties of ß-adrenergic receptor blockers, presents the doses of these drugs causing toxicity and doses, after ingestion of which, referral to an emergency department is recommended. Clinical presentation of overdose (the cardiovascular, neurologic manifestations, pulmonary and other complications), diagnosis, and treatment (gastrointestinal decontamination; the usage of atropine, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, glucagon, insulin; indications for cardiac pacing, extracorporeal procedures of drug removal, etc.) are analyzed. In addition, this article focuses on clinical course and prognosis of beta-blocker overdose.
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