Fast Five Quiz: Can You Recognize and Treat Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse and Toxicity?

Mary L. Windle, PharmD


January 13, 2017

Although most cough and cold preparations may be a combination of medications, a single toxidrome may not be present. The history is helpful to guide the expected physical examination findings; however, the history is often inaccurate. The presentation of a patient with a toxic ingestion is not always straightforward.

Abnormal findings may include the following:

  • Hyperthermia

  • Tachypnea

  • Tachycardia

  • Hypertension

Hyperthermia has been reported with ingestion of both diphenhydramine and OTC antihistamine/decongestant combinations.

For more on the physical examination of cough and cold preparation toxicity, read here.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.