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Eugenol oil overdose

Eugenol oil (clove oil) overdose occurs when someone swallows a large amount of a product that contains this oil. This can be by accident or on purpose.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual overdose. If you or someone you are with overdoses, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

Eugenol can be harmful in large amounts.

Where Found

Eugenol oil is found in these products:

  • Some toothache medicines
  • Food flavorings
  • Clove cigarettes

Other products may also contain eugenol oil.

Symptoms

Below are symptoms of a eugenol oil overdose in different parts of the body.

AIRWAYS AND LUNGS

  • Shallow breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coughing up blood

BLADDER AND KIDNEYS

EYES, EARS, NOSE, THROAT, AND MOUTH

  • Burns in the mouth and throat

STOMACH AND INTESTINES

HEART AND BLOOD

NERVOUS SYSTEM

Home Care

Seek immediate emergency help. DO NOT make the person throw up unless told to do so by a doctor or poison control center.

If the product touched the skin, clean the area with soap and water.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • Person's age, weight, and condition
  • Name of the product (ingredients and strength, if known)
  • Time it was swallowed
  • Amount swallowed

Poison Control

Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) 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

Take the container to the hospital with you, if possible.

The health care provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.

Tests that may done include:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Camera down the throat to look for burns in the esophagus and the stomach
  • ECG (electrocardiogram or heart tracing)
Treatment may include:
  • Fluids through a vein (by IV)
  • Medicines to treat symptoms
  • Activated charcoal
  • Breathing support, including a tube through the mouth into the lungs and connected to a breathing machine (ventilator)

Outlook (Prognosis)

Survival past 48 hours is usually a good sign that recovery will occur. But, permanent injury is possible.

Alternative Names

Clove oil overdose

References

Aronson JK. Myrtaceae. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:1159-1160.

Lim CS, Aks SE. Plants, mushrooms, and herbal medications. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 158.

Review Date 10/7/2017

Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.