An invaluable resource of health information.
Contac is the brand name for a cough, cold, and allergy medicine that contains several ingredients. Contac overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- Poisonous Ingredient
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Dextromethorphan hydrobromide
- Diphenhydramine hydrochloride
- Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride
Note: Not all of these ingredients are found in every form of Contac.
- Where Found
The ingredients are found in Contac as well as some over-the-counter herbal products advertised for weight loss and athletic performance–enhancing effects.
- Bladder and kidneys
- Inability to urinate or completely empty the bladder
- Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
- Enlarged pupils
- Blurred vision
- Heart and blood vessels
- Muscles and bones
- Muscle pain and spasms
- Nervous system
- Bladder and kidneys
- Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:
- Patient's age, weight, and condition
- Name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
- If the medication was prescribed for the patient
- Poison Control, or a local emergency number
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- What to expect at the emergency room
The health care provider will measure and monitor your vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. You may receive:
- Activated charcoal
- Fluids through a vein (by IV)
- Tube through the nose into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage)
- Expectations (prognosis)
If the patient survives the first 24 hours, survival is likely. Few patients actually die from this type of overdose.
Murphy NG, Benowitz NL, Goldschlager N. Cardiovascular toxicology. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 8.
Review Date: 1/19/2010
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.