[su_youtube url=””] [su_expand more_text=”Show More”] About 90% of the poisonings reported to the GPC involve medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter.  Medicine can be dangerous if used incorrectly or if the wrong amount is taken.

Most Common Medication Poisonings Reported to the GPC

  • Analgesics
  • Sedative/Hypnotics/Antipsychotics
  • Antimicrobials
  • Cardiovascular Drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Cold & Cough Preparations
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Gastrointestinal Preparations

Common causes of medication poisoning occur from:

  • Dosing errors
    • Taking too much
    • Taking within close time frame
    • Taking the wrong medicine or administering medicine the wrong way
      • ear drops being placed in the eyes
    • Drug interactions – can occur when medication interacts with a certain food, herbal product, alcohol or another medication
      • Taking some over the counter (OTC) medications with prescription medications can cause serious problems
      • Taking some medications with certain foods can lessen the effect of the medication.
    • Adverse reaction – can occur if expired medications are used.

Tips to Prevent Medication Poisoning:

  • Store medicine in locked cabinets out of the reach of children
  • Keep medicine in the original container
  • Use child resistant packaging and replace caps tightly after each use
  • Throw out expired, leftover or medicines with missing labels
  • Always read the labels before taking or giving medicine; check the name, expiration date and directions
  • Ask the doctor or pharmacist about any food or drinks that might react with the medicine
  • Tell the doctor about any medications including vitamins that you are taking
  • Never take medicine that belongs to someone else, even if you have the same symptoms
  • After each dose, record the time, date and name of the drug(s) that was taken or given, especially if you are taking more than one medication
  • If you forget to take or give medicine at the correct time, do not double dose without checking with your doctor first
  • Do not take or give medicine in the dark, without your glasses on, or while you are sleepy
  • Never call medicine “candy”
  • Never give or take extra medicine if some gets spilled; call your doctor or pharmacist first
  • Use a correct measuring spoon, do not use a kitchen spoon and know the difference between a tablespoon and a teaspoon
  • If you suspect any medication errors call the GPC at 1-800-222-1222. For non-emergent questions you can chat or email us by visiting our website at