Extracorporeal treatment for barbiturate poisoning: recommendations from the EXTRIP Workgroup

Am J Kidney Dis. 2014 Sep;64(3):347-58. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.04.031. Epub 2014 Jul 3.


The EXTRIP (Extracorporeal Treatments in Poisoning) Workgroup conducted a systematic review of barbiturate poisoning using a standardized evidence-based process to provide recommendations on the use of extracorporeal treatment (ECTR) in patients with barbiturate poisoning. The authors reviewed all articles, extracted data, summarized key findings, and proposed structured voting statements following a predetermined format. A 2-round modified Delphi method was used to reach a consensus on voting statements, and the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method was used to quantify disagreement. 617 articles met the search inclusion criteria. Data for 538 patients were abstracted and evaluated. Only case reports, case series, and nonrandomized observational studies were identified, yielding a low quality of evidence for all recommendations. Using established criteria, the workgroup deemed that long-acting barbiturates are dialyzable and short-acting barbiturates are moderately dialyzable. Four key recommendations were made. (1) The use of ECTR should be restricted to cases of severe long-acting barbiturate poisoning. (2) The indications for ECTR in this setting are the presence of prolonged coma, respiratory depression necessitating mechanical ventilation, shock, persistent toxicity, or increasing or persistently elevated serum barbiturate concentrations despite treatment with multiple-dose activated charcoal. (3) Intermittent hemodialysis is the preferred mode of ECTR, and multiple-dose activated charcoal treatment should be continued during ECTR. (4) Cessation of ECTR is indicated when clinical improvement is apparent. This report provides detailed descriptions of the rationale for all recommendations. In summary, patients with long-acting barbiturate poisoning should be treated with ECTR provided at least one of the specific criteria in the first recommendation is present.

Keywords: Barbiturates; EXTRIP (Extracorporeal Treatments in Poisoning); dialyzability; extracorporeal treatment; hemodialysis; poisoning; recommendations.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Barbiturates / poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Poisoning / therapy
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Barbiturates
  • barbituric acid