Each of the methods used to decontaminate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract have potential benefits and risks that must be considered prior to their use. The three general methods of decontamination involve removal of the toxin from the stomach, binding it inside the gut lumen, or mechanically flushing it through the GI tract. The choice of method(s) used is determined by the toxin ingested, the time course, the patient's clinical status, and the skills of the physician available. GI decontamination must never be initiated as a punitive action.
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