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ISMP Medication Safety Alert

Prevent accidental vitamin overdoses

How much time does a 2-year-old child need to gobble up 95 vitamin E capsules? About ten minutes, according to a recent caller to a poison control center. Shortly after that, the little boy complained that his stomach hurt, and he vomited. However, that was all that happened, and he was fine later. Taking a lot of vitamin E at one time, like this boy did, does not usually cause any problems besides stomach pain and vomiting, but that's not true of multivitamins containing vitamin A, vitamin D, or iron. And adding to the problem is that, since most vitamins are OTC, they do not have to have child-resistant safety caps. The bottle in this case did not have a safety cap, and the boy easily opened it. Remember that all medications, including vitamins and herbal products, should be stored out of reach of children, EVEN if the bottles have child-resistant caps.

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