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How Antidote Works

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05,March 2024

You must have seen in movies or web series how a person is injected with a chemical for poison consumption. This injected chemical is referred to as an “Antidote” by the doctors. Soon after the injection or oral intake of this chemical by the person who consumed poison starts getting better. Their health starts to improve and they shift towards stable conditions from critical ones. But do you know what antidotes are, and what are their types? To know this, watch our YouTube video, “What is Antidote | Antidote Examples & Classifications”.

What Are Antidotes?

The agents that negate or control the ill effects of the toxins or the poisons in the body are known as Antidotes. These chemicals inhibit the multiplication of the toxins thus prevent from spreading to the entire body. It neutralizes the effect of another drug or poison present in the body. Antidotes are also given to people to treat certain diseases.

Working Mechanism of Antidotes:

We all know that chemical agents often referred to as antidotes are given to people to counter the effects of toxins, drugs, or poison. However many of us are still unaware of how these chemicals work on the toxins and help the body fight back. There are four types of working mechanisms of the antidotes, these are as follows:

1. Reduction In The Toxin Level:

Once these agents enter the body, they directly act on the toxins or the poison and start to reduce their concentration in the body. This is done through either elimination of the toxin or by specific and non-specific binding.

  • Specific Binding: In the case of specific binding antidotes bind with the poisonous substances and form an inert complex that is less reactive for the body. Once converted to a less reactive form, these are eventually eliminated from the body.
  • Non-Specific Binding: In the case of non-specific binding, antidotes inhibit the absorption of the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract hence reducing the concentration level of these toxins in the body.

2. Blocking the Receptor Site: 

In this method, antidotes either alter the receptor site of the toxins or increase the activity of the enzymes present in the body to combat the ill effects of the toxins in the body.

3. Neutralizing Toxin Metabolites:

In this method, antidotes neutralize the metabolites of the toxins present in the body by converting highly toxic agents into their less toxic form.

4. Preventing the Effects of Toxins:

Another way by which these antidotes act is by restraining or negating the ill effects of toxins in the body. This is done by using drugs that neutralize the action of toxins by chemically reacting with them directly.

Follow us at Lloyd Institute of Forensic Science to learn more about such interesting topics.

Uses of Antidotes:

Antidotes are commonly known only for saving someone from poison intake. However, there are some other uses of antidotes as well. Some of the uses are mentioned below:

  • Reduce the mortality rate,
  • Reduce the morbidity rate,
  • Used for the treatment of diseases.

Most Commonly Used Antidotes:

The list of antidotes used for reducing the effects of poison and toxins is long. Here we have mentioned some of the commonly used antidotes for your reference:

  • Activated charcoal,
  • Acetylcysteine,
  • Naloxone,
  • Sodium Bicarbonate,
  • Atropine,
  • Flumazenil,
  • Therapeutic Antibodies.

In today’s world where the consumption of toxins is increasing in one or other manner, we need to know the relevance of the antidotes and their working mechanism.