National Poisons Information Service

A service commissioned by Public Health England




Members of the public

seeking specific

information on poisons

should contact:


In England and Wales:

NHS 111 - dial 111


In Scotland:

NHS 24 - dial 111


In N Ireland:

Contact your local GP or

pharmacist during

normal hours; click here

(www.gpoutofhours for GP

services Out-of-Hours.


In Republic of Ireland:

01 809 2166



professionals seeking

poisons information

should consult:

TOXBASE editing

TOXBASE is produced and maintained by the NPIS within an audit framework of user feedback and clinical governance. TOXBASE has seen continued growth in usage since its internet launch in 1999 and deals with over 90% of all enquiries to the NPIS from the UK (the total for 2016/17 being in excess of 662,000). Since 1999, UK health policy has been that TOXBASE should be the first (and often only) point of information for poisons enquiries.


It is therefore essential that the information it contains is kept as up-to-date and as relevant as possible. This creates a very substantial ongoing workload that is shared by all the NPIS Units but led by Edinburgh. Revising TOXBASE entries is a complex process involving a comprehensive literature search together with information from case-based experience to develop clinical advice through a robust, defendable editing process, which has explicit clinical governance processes.


All TOXBASE entries are peer reviewed before publication and key updates, e.g. for highly toxic agents, standardised recommendations or commonly accessed agents, are agreed at a national level before being published. The NPIS TOXBASE Editing Group includes representatives of clinical and information staff from all four NPIS Units, representatives from related poisons centres and a public health physician or scientist from the PHE Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards. It meets four times a year by web/teleconference to agree policy for TOXBASE development, discuss the format of TOXBASE monographs and agree and prioritise work programmes.


Areas of clinical controversy or uncertainty are discussed at the TOXBASE Editing Group and/or by the NPIS Directors at the quarterly NPIS Clinical Standards Group meetings, as appropriate.


The NPIS aims to review each of the approximately 17,000 entries on TOXBASE at least once every four years, requiring the review of over 4,000 entries in a typical year. During 2016/17, 4,599 entries were added or edited.


An important component in the review process of TOXBASE entries is user feedback, questionnaires on TOXBASE for new and unusual products, responses to follow up on cases of interest, or informal feedback by email, letter or telephone. Users may also raise queries on existing entries or provide additional clinical data. Any issues specific to entries are dealt with as they arise or discussed at the TOXBASE Editing Group and/or NPIS Clinical Standards Group meetings.


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