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                Aspirin Poisoning

Intro

If minor symptoms of aspirin overdose are experienced, call a doctor to see if the medication should be stopped or the dosage reduced. Minor symptoms include ringing in the ears, dry mouth, and dizziness.

For all other symptoms, call local emergency phone number immediately. Also consider going directly to a hospital's emergency Department for evaluation. Serious symptoms include the following:

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms occur with aspirin overdose:

  • Any hearing loss
  • Any abnormal bleeding
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Dizziness (severe)
  • Drowsiness (severe)
  • Excitement or nervousness (severe)
  • Fast or deep breathing
  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • Headache (severe or continuing)
  • Increased sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting (severe or continuing)
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears (continuing)
  • Sweating
  • Unexplained fever
  • Unusual thirst
  • Vision problems

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Self-Care at Home

If a drug overdose is discovered or suspected, and the victim is unconscious, having convulsions, not breathing, or is otherwise seriously ill, call 911 immediately (or the local emergency phone number) for medical help.

If the person who took the drug is not having symptoms, do not wait to see if symptoms develop. Call the local poison control center immediately. It is a good idea to post the telephone number of the local poison control center near the phone. This information can be found at: American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Providing as much information as possible to the poison control center can help determine what the next course of action should be.

  • The poison control center, paramedics, and emergency department staff will want to know the following information: What medications were taken? Try to locate the medication's container.
    Precisely what is the medication that was taken; what is its name; how many milligrams (mg) is each pill?
    How much of the medication was taken?
    When was the medication taken?
    Was the medication taken with alcohol or any other drugs or chemicals?
    What is the victim's age?
    What symptoms are present?
    Is the person conscious?
    Is the victim breathing?
    What medical conditions does the victim have?
  • Although ipecac syrup was used commonly in the past to make the victim vomit, it is rarely recommended today. It would not be suggested in aspirin poisoning due to the chance that the victim might develop altered mental status or convulsions.

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Follow-up

People with acute, single ingestions of non—enteric coated aspirin of less than 150 mg/kg who have no symptoms and have a nontoxic aspirin level after 6 hours may be released from the hospital. All others with aspirin poisonings will likely be treated in the emergency department, then hospitalized for further treatment and observation.

  • Psychiatric and medical follow-up may be recommended.
  • Careful monitoring of medication intake will be recommended as well.
  • Tests to monitor kidney function may be done periodically after hospital discharge, especially in elderly people.
Prevention

Prescription medications should be used according to your doctor's and pharmacist's directions.

  • Never take a medicine prescribed for someone else.
  • To protect children from accidental drug overdose, all medications should be stored in containers with child-resistant caps. All medications should be out of sight and out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Take suicidal threats seriously.
  • Never give or take medication in the dark.
  • Always tell the doctor of any previous side effects or adverse reactions to medication as well as any new or unusual symptoms that occur.
  • Never take more than the recommended or prescribed dose of a medication.
  • Inform your doctor about all the medications you are taking. Be sure to mention over-the-counter medications.

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