Overdose

Definition

An overdose is when you take more than the normal or recommended amount of something, usually a drug. An overdose may result in serious, harmful symptoms or death.

If you take too much of something on purpose, it is called an intentional or deliberate overdose.

If the overdose happens by mistake, it is called an accidental overdose. For example, a young child may accidentally take an adult's heart medication.

Your doctor may refer to an overdose as an ingestion. Ingestion means you swallowed something.

An overdose is not the same as a poisoning, although the effects can be the same. Poisoning occurs when someone or something (such as the environment) exposes you to dangerous chemicals, plants, or other harmful substance without your knowledge.

Alternative Names

Information

An overdose may be mild, moderate, or serious. Symptoms, treatment, and recovery depend on the specific drug involved. For more information see:

  • Acetaminophen and codeine overdose
  • Acetaminophen overdose
  • Adrenergic bronchodilators overdose
  • Aminophylline overdose
  • Amitriptyline and perphenazine overdose
  • Amitriptyline hydrochloride overdose
  • Aspirin overdose
  • Bacitracin overdose
  • Bacitracin zinc overdose
  • Beta blockers overdose
  • Birth control pills overdose
  • Brompheniramine overdose
  • Butazolidin overdose
  • Caffeine overdose
  • Calcium antagonist overdose
  • Calcium carbonate overdose
  • Campho-Phenique overdose
  • Cardiac glycoside overdose
  • Castor oil overdose
  • Chlordiazepoxide overdose
  • Chlormerodrin overdose
  • Chlorpromazine overdose
  • Codeine overdose
  • Compazine overdose
  • Contac overdose
  • Corticosteroids overdose
  • Cyproheptadine overdose
  • Desipramine hydrochloride overdose
  • Dextromethorphan overdose
  • Diazepam overdose
  • Diclofenac sodium overdose
  • Dilantin overdose
  • Dimenhydrinate overdose
  • Diphenhydramine hydrochloride overdose
  • Estrogen overdose
  • Ethanol overdose
  • Eucalyptus oil overdose
  • Eugenol oil overdose
  • Fenoprofen calcium overdose
  • Fluoride overdose
  • Heroin overdose
  • Hydrocodone and acetaminophen overdose
  • Hydrogen peroxide overdose
  • Hydromorphone overdose
  • Hydroxyzine overdose
  • Ibuprofen overdose
  • Imipramine overdose
  • Indomethacin overdose
  • Iodine overdose
  • Iron overdose
  • Isopropanol overdose
  • Ketoprofen overdose
  • Laxative overdose
  • Lithium overdose
  • Lomotil overdose
  • Meclofenamate overdose
  • Menthol overdose
  • Meperidine hydrochloride overdose
  • Meprobamate overdose
  • Merbromin overdose
  • Methadone overdose
  • Methanol overdose
  • Methapyrilene hydrochloride overdose
  • Methyl salicylate overdose
  • Mineral oil overdose
  • Morphine overdose
  • Mouthwash overdose
  • Multiple vitamin overdose
  • Nitroglycerin overdose
  • Oral hypoglycemics overdose
  • Oxazepam overdose
  • Pentazocine overdose
  • Pentobarbital overdose
  • Peppermint oil overdose
  • Percocet overdose
  • Percodan overdose
  • Periactin overdose
  • Phencyclidine overdose
  • Phenindamine overdose
  • Pheniramine overdose
  • Phenobarbital overdose
  • Phenothiazine overdose
  • Phenylbutazone overdose
  • Phenytoin overdose
  • Piroxicam overdose
  • Promethazine overdose
  • Propoxyphene overdose
  • Sassafras oil overdose
  • Secobarbital overdose
  • Sports cream overdose
  • Sulindac overdose
  • Thiazide overdose
  • Thyroid preparation overdose
  • Toothpaste overdose
  • Trazodone hydrochloride overdose
  • Vicks VapoRub overdose
  • Zinc oxide overdose

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. It is a free and confidential service. You should call if you have any questions about an overdose, poisoning, or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

References

Kulig K. General approach to the poisoned patient. In: Marx J, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. St Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2006:chap 145.