Menthol is used as a flavoring agent for candy and other products. Menthol poisoning occurs from swallowing pure menthol.
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.
Menthol may be found in:
Note: This list may not include all uses of menthol.
- Bladder and kidneys
- Heart and blood
- Nervous system
Seek immediate medical help. If the menthol is in ointment/cream form, wipe away any that remains on the skin's surface. Call Poison Control for further guidance.
Before Calling Emergency:
Determine the following information:
- The patient's age, weight, and condition
- The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
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.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
See: Poison control center - emergency number
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
- A tube through the mouth into the stomach to wash out the stomach (gastric lavage )
- Endoscopy -- camera down the throat to see burns in the esophagus and the stomach
- Medicines to treat an allergic reaction (diphenhydramine, epinephrine, or prednisone)
- Washing of the skin (irrigation), perhaps every few hours for several days
How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly medical treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.
Swallowing such poisons can have severe effects on many parts of the body.
However, pure menthol is not readily available. The menthol found in many over-the-counter products is usually watered down and mixed with other ingredients. Therefore, how well a patient does also depends on the other ingredients in the product.
|Review Date: 2/6/2009|
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Stephen C. Acosta, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, OR. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (2/27/2008).
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