Caring for a patient that is critically-ill secondary to a toxic ingestion is complicated and, in severe cases, extracorporeal treatments (ECTRs) may be considered. The most commonly used ECTRs are intermittent hemodialysis (iHD) and continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), but ECTRs also include exchange transfusion, hemoperfusion, liver dialysis, and therapeutic plasma exchange. Finding and evaluating the supporting literature for these treatment modalities in a timely manner is not feasible in most situations. In order to assist in this effort, the EXtracorporeal Treatments In Poisoning (EXTRIP) workgroup has reviewed and provided free, evidence-based recommendations regarding the use of ECTRs for many common toxins and toxicants [1]. These recommendations can be found in a summarized format on the EXTRIP website and the links to their comprehensive reviews are published on PubMed with direct links on their website. This international workgroup is made up of experts in toxicology, nephrology, emergency medicine, pediatrics, pharmacology, critical care, and more. An excellent example of this resource is their review and recommendations on ECTRs for poisoning secondary to beta-adrenergic antagonists (BAAs).


The EXTRIP workgroup included 76 publications in this comprehensive review on the use of ECTRs in BAA poisoning [2]. They evaluated pharmacokinetic/toxicokinetic data for a total of 334 patients poisoned with various BAAs, of which ~90% of the data was published prior to 1990 and does not necessarily represent the improved clearance of these medications with modern ECTR modalities. Based on this evidence, they deemed atenolol, nadolol, and sotalol as dialyzable BAAs. They also reviewed case reports/series of 37 patients with BAA toxicity and made recommendations for those agents with sufficient evidence. Based on the above data, the EXTRIP group recommends iHD over CRRT in patients severely poisoned with atenolol or sotalol and kidney impairment. They make no recommendation for or against ECTR in patients severely poisoned with atenolol or sotalol with normal kidney function and they recommend against ECTR in patients severely poisoned with propranolol.

 Bottom Line

  • Some toxic ingestions may require invasive treatment strategies (e.g., ECTRs) but a comprehensive review of the literature may not be possible
  • The EXTRIP website is an excellent resource to assess if patients should receive emergent ECTRs due to specific toxins
  • Hemodialysis is recommended in severely symptomatic patients poisoned with atenolol or sotalol and with impaired kidney function

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  1. Ghannoum M, Nolin TD, Lavergne V, Hoffman RS, EXTRIP workgroup. Blood purification in toxicology: nephrology’s ugly duckling. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2011;18(3):160-166. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2011.01.008. PMID: 21531321.
  2. Bouchard J, Shepherd G, Hoffman RS, et al. Extracorporeal treatment for poisoning to beta-adrenergic antagonists: systematic review and recommendations from the EXTRIP workgroup. Crit Care. 2021;25(1):201. doi: 10.1186/s13054-021-03585-7. PMID: 34112223.
Bryan D. Hayes, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT, FASHP

Bryan D. Hayes, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT, FASHP

Leadership Team, ALiEM
Creator and Lead Editor, Capsules and EM Pharm Pearls Series
Attending Pharmacist, EM and Toxicology, MGH
Associate Professor of EM, Division of Medical Toxicology, Harvard Medical School
Bryan D. Hayes, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT, FASHP


EM Pharmacist & Toxicologist @MassGeneralEM | Asst Prof @HarvardMed/@EMRES_MGHBWH | @ALiEMteam leadership | Capsules creator, ALiEMU | President, ABAT | #FOAMed
Mike O'Brien, PharmD

Mike O'Brien, PharmD

ALiEM Series Editor, EM Pharm Pearls
EM Clinical Pharmacy Specialist
Massachusetts General Hospital