medicine dropping down spoons

Taking Too Much Medicine

Last updated: May 2022

The sting in my throat made me realize what I had done. I had taken too much allergy medicine. Just moments after taking an antihistamine tablet for adults, I drank a children's dose of the same kind of medicine.

How could I have done that? After all, I have my medicines and supplements lined up in my pantry in order of what I take each morning, afternoon, and night. I keep all extras in a closed container on the back of the top shelf of my pantry.

Not paying attention to medications

I had a lot on my mind that morning. My son was chatting with me. I had just given him his allergy medicine. And like the week before, when I had run out of my allergy tablets, I poured some children's allergy medicine for me. I forgot that I had bought more of my medicine and had already taken my usual dose.

What I did when I took too much medicine

I admit that I panicked for a moment when I took too much allergy medicine. A fear of what would happen rose within me. But I was able to push past the fear and act quickly.

First, I spit out the rest of the liquid in my mouth. I told myself to stay calm as I checked the instructions on both medicine boxes. They confirmed I had indeed exceeded the limit for 24 hours. Next, I drank some water. I sought to ease the burning in my throat. Drinking water also helps me feel less anxious. Then, I contacted my doctor. She assured me I would be okay. The drowsiness I felt would wear off as the day progressed. Knowing all this relieved me of stress and worry.

Accidentally overdosing can be serious

Taking too much of any medicine can be serious. This can lead to more severe side effects than what I experienced from the allergy medicine. An overdose can even land a person in an emergency room.

I ended up in an emergency room more than a decade ago after consuming too much medicine. I took a compounded supplement to aid with the fatigue of an autoimmune condition. After a while, I had more in my body than I needed.

Taking too much medicine for fatigue caused confusion, flushing, heart racing, and shaking. The symptoms occurred while I was at work, so a coworker called 911. Soon afterward, an ambulance transported me to a nearby emergency room.

Tips for taking the right amount of medicine

I have come a long way since that emergency room visit. Over the years, I have learned a lot about medicines and myself. Now I know I am extremely sensitive to medicines and often need less than the standard dose. These other tips I discovered might also help you as you attempt to take the right amount of medicine for you.

1. Talk to your doctor

I can always talk to my doctor. I seek my doctor's advice often. And I don't talk to just any doctor. I speak to the doctor who is best for me because she offers practical, personalized care when I need it.

2. Follow instructions

I follow instructions, including my doctor's instructions and those that come with medicines and supplements. Sometimes I need to reread all the guidance I have received as a reminder.

3. Come up with a system

I establish a system and modify it as needed. I tried using pillboxes to help me take the correct doses of medicines at the right times each day. But I liked keeping my pills in small plastic bags instead. Now that I have a child at home, I store all medicines in their original, child-proof bottles out of my child's reach.

4. Stay focused

I focus. I try to be mindful when taking medicines. I really need to think and pay attention to what I am doing.

5. Tell someone

I have let my husband know what medicines I take and where I store them. When I took too much allergy medicine, I told him that too. That way, he could also observe me and help if needed.

6. Have an emergency plan

I know how to get help from a poison control center. In the United States, I can call 1-800-222-1222 to reach Poison Control. The National Capitol Poison Center also assists people through an online tool.1

It happens!

We are all human and in need of care. Even on our good days, we can get sidetracked and make mistakes like taking too much medicine. But I have found that we can educate ourselves and take other measures to protect our health.

Have you ever taken too much medicine? Do you have any tips from your experience to share?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Allergies.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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