Poisoning from an overdose of Merthiolate.

Poisonous Ingredient 


Where Found 

  • Merthiolate  
  • Some eye drops  
  • Some nasal drops


  • Thirst  
  • Metallic taste  
  • Decreased urine output  
  • Drooling  
  • Mouth sores  
  • Shock  
  • Extreme difficulty breathing  
  • Swelling within the throat, which may be severe  
  • Abdominal pain  
  • Vomiting  
  • diarrhea

Home Treatment 
Thimerosal is poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract and serious poisoning is unlikely. However, if you are concerned about a possible overdose, contact your local poison control center for advice.

Before Calling Emergency 

Determine the following:

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

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
If you are concerned about a Merthiolate overdose or poisoning, seek medical care at your nearest emergency room. See poison control centers for the national 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:

  • Giving activated charcoal.  
  • Giving a cathartic (a medication used to evacuate the bowels).  
  • Giving an antidote.  
  • Treating the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
Because a serious poisoning is unlikely, full recovery is very probable.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Gevorg A. Poghosian, Ph.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.