About Medical Toxicology

What is Medical Toxicology?

Medical Toxicology is a field of medicine dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of poisoned and envenomated patients. This also includes adverse health effects of medications, occupational and environmental toxins, and biological agents. Medical Toxicology is an officially recognized subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties.


Medical Toxicologists focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and management of toxicologic disorders. Their areas of expertise include: 

  • Drug and medication overdose
  • Intoxication from drugs of abuse
  • Envenomations
  • Identifying and treating emerging drugs of abuse
  • Chemical exposures
  • Addiction management and the opioid epidemic
  • Adverse drug reactions and adverse drug events
  • Occupational exposures
  • Environmental toxins
  • Biologic agents and warfare agents
  • Forensic toxicology
  • Medication Safety

Medical Toxicologists work in a variety of settings including:

  • Emergency departments and in-patient units where they directly treat acutely poisoned patients
  • Outpatient clinics and occupational health settings where they evaluate the health impact from exposure to toxic substances in the home or workplace
  • National and regional poison control centers where they provide medical direction for health professionals, personal responders and the general public
  • Academic institutions where they are involved in teaching, research, and improving evidence-based patient care
  • Industry and commerce where they contribute to pharmaceutical research and development, product safety, occupational health services, and regulatory compliance
  • Governmental agencies where they provide toxicology expertise at all levels from local health departments to federal entities
  • Clinical and forensic laboratories where they aid in the design, conduction and interpretation of diagnostic tests and forensic studies