TOXBASE is an Internet database which can
be accessed at any time of the day or night by registered users in the UK and Ireland from
any computer which has access to the Internet. The UK Departments of Health and
PHE (Health Protection Agency) have recommended TOXBASE as the first line source of poisons
information for health care professionals within the NHS. TOXBASE is free for
NHS users, and available to others via payment of an annual subscription fee
(details available on request).
TOXBASE contains information on the features and management of poisoning with over 14,000 products and substances - pharmaceuticals, drugs of abuse, cosmetics, toiletries, household products, industrial chemicals, agrochemicals, snakes, insects and plants. It is updated on a regular basis.
The full version of TOXBASE on the internet contains over 14,000 products and substances - and registration is free for your department or practice as long as you are within the UK NHS (or selected A&E departments in Ireland). Further details are available from NPIS Edinburgh on 0131 242 1381 during office hours. To go ahead and register on-line please submit our on-line registration form on the TOXBASE home page.
Registered users receive a bi-monthly newsletter - TOXBASE Users Update, containing details of new and updated TOXBASE entries and other updates.
TOXBASE can be accessed online by registered users (new users can register on-line) on the TOXBASE web site:
You will need a PC with Windows XP, NT (or above) with a frames enabled, Java-compliant Internet Browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. You will also need access to the Internet via either an NHSnet connection or with broadband via an Internet Service Provider. Your own IT support personnel should be able to advise.
The NPIS also offers the TOXBASE app, available for iPhone and iPad (individual subscription £6.99 per annum). An Android version is due to be launched early in 2013. For further information see side-bar.
TOXBASE e-learning site
You can improve your use of TOXBASE and the management of poisoned patients by registering to use our TOXBASE e-learning, a training tool. This site has a separate URL http://www.toxbase.co.uk
Various modules are available. Registration is free, and you can start learning immediately.
DOH advice on TOXBASE
Back in early 2000, the Department of Health wrote to all UK Emergency Departments & Injuries Units to update them on the, then recent, changes which the UK Departments of Health and the NPIS had made to the way poisons information is provided. Their advice was as follows:
The NPIS now aims to provide advice on-line via TOXBASE for all initial enquiries and, for more complex cases where specialist advice on the management of individual patients is required, via a second-tier consultant led telephone enquiry service. To deliver this more effectively, the NPIS centres are set up on a regional basis, to allow provision of stronger local links to promote training and interaction with users of the service.
In future rather than calling the NPIS, please arrange for TOXBASE, which is now available on the Internet at http://www.toxbase.org to be used as the primary source of information for the routine diagnosis, treatment and management of patients suffering from exposure to a wide range of substances and products. TOXBASE offers ample information to assist with the proper treatment and management of the majority of cases of poisoning. All the NPIS Centres contribute to and agree the content of TOXBASE and there should be no doubt that it represents the most authoritative source of information available which can also be printed out.
You should ensure that you have the necessary computer equipment to access TOXBASE on the Internet/NHS web so that you can access this primary source of poisons information. Your IT department will be able to advise you about equipment requirements. We can provide formal or informal training in the use of TOXBASE as well as training in the treatment and management of poisonings. We will keep you informed about all our planned training events.
For clinically or toxicologically complex cases which cannot be answered by TOXBASE, information should be obtained through the 24 hour national telephone number 0844 892 0111. In addition to the Specialists in Poisons Information, Consultant medical staff are always available to speak to hospital medical staff about complex cases of poisonings, or where there are serious clinical concerns.
Local protocols which require a telephone call to the NPIS in all cases of poisoning or overdoses should be withdrawn and replaced with protocols requiring access to TOXBASE for all routine cases.