Drug-induced hyperthermic syndromes: part I. Hyperthermia in overdose

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2013 Nov;31(4):1019-33. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2013.07.004. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


Drugs and natural compounds that affect the thermoregulatory system can induce or contribute to hyperthermia when used in excess. Hyperthermia associated with drug overdose is dangerous and potentially lethal. This article reviews the body's process of maintaining thermodynamic equilibrium, and describes the mechanisms by which it is influenced by sympathomimetic and anticholinergic drugs, salicylates, and thyroid replacement medications. Appropriate treatment strategies such as cooling and the administration of counteractive medications are discussed.

Keywords: Anticholinergics; Cocaine; Hypermetabolism; Hyperthermia; Methlenedioxymethamphetamine; Salicylates; Sympathomimetics; Thermoregulatory system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholinergic Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Drug Overdose / complications*
  • Fever / chemically induced*
  • Fever / therapy
  • Humans
  • Seizures / complications
  • Sympathomimetics / adverse effects
  • Xenobiotics / adverse effects


  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Sympathomimetics
  • Xenobiotics