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Accidental Overdose of Medicine: Care Instructions


NOTE: If you have made a mistake with a medicine, think you’ve taken too much, or the wrong medicine please call the Alberta Poison Centre at 1-800-332-1414 right away. Please follow the advice they give about treatment.

This information is to be used for care after you’ve been seen by a doctor, pharmacist, or have called the Poison Centre.

Almost any medicine can cause harm if you take too much of it. You have had treatment to help your body get rid of an overdose of a medicine. This may have been an over-the-counter medicine. Or it might be one that a doctor prescribed. It may even have been a natural health product, such as vitamins or herbal remedies.

During treatment, the doctor may have given you fluids and medicine. You also may have had lab tests. Then the doctor made sure that you were well enough to go home.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away or call the Poison Centre.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Home care

    • If you normally take medicines, ask your doctor when you can start taking them again.
    • Read the information that comes with any medicine. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.


  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed or as the label directs. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Keep your medicines in the containers they came in. Keep them with the original labels.
  • Find out what to do if you miss a dose of your medicine.

When should you call for help?

A poison centre can give you immediate advice in the case of a poisoning. Call 911 if the person passes out, has trouble breathing, is hard to wake up, or is having a seizure.

  • Call 1-844-POISON-X (1-844-764-7669).
  • Have the poison container with you so you can give complete information to the poison centre, such as what the poison or substance is, how much was taken and when.
  • Do not try to make the person vomit.

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if you or someone else:

  • Has used or currently uses alcohol or drugs and is very confused or can't stay awake.
  • Has passed out (lost consciousness).
  • Has severe trouble breathing.
  • Is having a seizure.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are vomiting.
  • You have a new or worse headache.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed or feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line or Poison Centre if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.