Contac overdose

Poisoning from an overdose of chlorpheniramine and phenylpropanolamine, which is an antihistamine.

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • chlorpheniramine  
  • phenylpropanolamine

Where Found 

  • Contac


  • body as a whole       o unsteadiness       o tremor       o convulsions       o fever  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o dilated pupils       o blurred vision  
  • heart and blood vessels       o rapid heartbeat       o increased blood pressure  
  • nervous system       o depression       o excitation       o drowsiness       o nervousness       o hallucinations       o disorientation       o delirium

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Induce emesis unless seizures are imminent.  
  • Use gastric lavage.  
  • Administer activated charcoal.  
  • Administer a laxative.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
If the patient survives the first 24 hours, survival is likely. Few patients actually die from an antihistamine overdose (see antihistamines - oral, antihistamines and decongestants - oral).

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.