Iodine overdose

Poisoning from an overdose of iodine.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • iodine

Where Found 

  • Tincture of iodine  
  • Lugol’s solution  
  • Pima syrup  
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone)  
  • Radiographic contrast  
  • Potassium iodide (SSKI)  
  • Iodinated glycerol (organidin)

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole       o shock       o thirst       o metallic taste       o fever       o no urine output       o mouth and throat pain  
  • gastrointestinal       o vomiting       o diarrhea       o abdominal pain  
  • nervous system       o delirium       o stupor       o seizures  
  • respiratory       o coughing       o shortness of breath

Home Treatment 

If you are concerned about iodine poisoning, go to your nearest emergency room or call poison control for guidance.

  • DO NOT induce vomiting.  
  • Give milk, cornstarch, or flour by mouth (15 gm in 500 ml, or just over a pint of water).  
  • Continue to give milk every 15 minutes.

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 person to the hospital. See poison control centers for the emergency telephone number. 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:

  • Perform gastric lavage.  
  • Administer activated charcoal  
  • Give milk with fluids.  
  • Establish and maintain airway.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
The chance of survival depends on the extent of the poisoning and how long it took to begin treatment. Esophageal stricture is a possible complication. Death is possible, though unlikely.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Simon D. Mitin, 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.