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First Aid for Merbromin Overdose

Last updated March 2, 2018

Merbromin is an antiseptic cream that is topically applied to cuts and scrapes to prevent infection. The drug used to be sold as Mercurochrome, Cinfacrom, and Stellachrome among others. Merbromin Overdose is the accidental or intentional intake of the drug in dosage higher than recommended.


What is Merbromin Overdose?

  • Merbromin is an antiseptic cream that is topically applied to cuts and scrapes to prevent infection. The drug used to be sold as Mercurochrome, Cinfacrom, and Stellachrome among others
  • Merbromin Overdose is the accidental or intentional intake of the drug in dosage higher than recommended
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Note: It is not sold in the United States since 1998, Germany since 2003, and France since 2006, due to concerns about the mercuric content of the drug.

What are the Causes of Merbromin Overdose?

  • Merbromin Overdose is caused by the intake of merbromin in a dose that is higher than recommended
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm

Note: The drug can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of the drug or other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects (such as an overdose).

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Merbromin Overdose?

The signs and symptoms of Merbromin Overdose can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the digestive system, respiratory system, nervous system, urinary system, skin and ENT may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Merbromin Overdose may include:

  • Urination difficulties; no urine output
  • Throat swelling
  • Increased thirst and salivation
  • Mouth sores; presence of metallic taste in the mouth
  • Diarrhea that might be bloody
  • Mild to severe stomach pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • If it involves the eye, then redness, watery eyes, irritation, and pain may be observed
  • Severe respiratory distress
  • Dizziness
  • Memory changes, reduced memory
  • Lack of muscular coordination and balance
  • Difficulty with speech

How is First Aid administered for Merbromin Overdose?

First Aid tips for Merbromin Overdose:

  • If the individual with Merbromin Overdose is experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency help number) immediately
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as dosage, type of drug taken, strength and time of ingestion of medication, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • If eye exposure has occurred, then wash the eye thoroughly with copious amounts of water (for about 15 minutes)
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the medication strip/bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Gastric lavage for elimination of drug from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Administer suitable medicines to counter the drug effects
  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate and high or low blood pressure
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of drug in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of drug from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Merbromin Overdose?

First aid for Merbromin Overdose is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who overdosed, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Merbromin Overdose?

  • The prognosis of Merbromin Overdose is dependent on the amount of drug consumed, time between overdose and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms with appropriate medication and support, the outcome is generally good. It is reported that the antidote should be administered within 7 days of overdose to ensure recovery
  • If the overdose was chronic (over a prolonged period), memory problems might be irreversible and there could be irreversible kidney damage too

How can Merbromin Overdose be Prevented?

Merbromin Overdose can be prevented by:

  • Exercise caution while applying merbromin; the topical skin cream is only meant for an external use
  • Wash hands thoroughly after usage to avoid contact with eyes and other mucus membranes
  • Label the drug to prevent accidental intake
  • Talking to your healthcare provider, if recommended dose of merbromin does not provide adequate relief
  • Refrain from self-medication
  • Exercising caution while taking multiple drugs with merbromin
  • Keeping medications out of reach of children in child-proof containers
  • For older individuals and those who tend to be forgetful, medications should be stored in single dose containers with time labels, to avoid multiple dosage
  • Monitor intake of this drug especially in patients, who have depression or harbor suicidal thoughts and behavior

It is important to give your healthcare provider a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications that are being currently taken. This will help them in assessing the possible drug interactions within various medications and help avoid/prevent accidental or unintentional toxic drug effects.

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, dosage and time of administration of medication
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 14, 2017
Last updated: March 2, 2018