What to do If You Take Medication Twice by Mistake?

Taking your medications correctly is vital for your health. Sometimes, by accident, you might take a medication twice. This can be worrisome, but there’s no need to panic. It’s important to know what to do if you take medication twice by mistake. Accidents like these can happen to anyone. 

We’ll guide you through simple steps to handle this situation calmly and effectively. Whether it’s a prescription medicine or an over-the-counter one, knowing the right actions to take can make a big difference. So, let’s learn how to handle accidental double dosing and keep ourselves safe and healthy.

The Immediate Steps to Take

Accidental double dosing of medication can be concerning, but you can handle it calmly by following these immediate steps:

Stay Calm and Assess

If you realize you’ve taken a medication twice by mistake, don’t worry. Stay calm and take a moment to assess the situation. Panicking won’t help, but a composed approach will.

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Check the Medication Label

Look at the medication’s label and packaging. This will provide crucial information about the dosage, frequency, and any special instructions. Make sure you understand what you’ve taken and how much.

what to do if you take medication twice by mistake

Identify the Medication

Determine the specific medication you’ve accidentally doubled up on. Different medications can have different effects, so it’s important to know which one you’re dealing with.

Assess the Risks

Consider the potential risks associated with the medication. Some medications might have minimal consequences if taken twice, while others could lead to discomfort or adverse effects.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water can help dilute the medication in your system and aid in its safe elimination from your body.

What to do If You Take Medication Twice by Mistake?

Knowing how to respond after accidentally taking medication twice is essential. Follow these steps based on the type of medication you’ve taken:

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

If you’ve doubled up on an OTC medication, the situation is usually manageable. Here’s what to do:

Monitor Yourself

Keep an eye on any unusual symptoms. While the risk is generally low, it’s wise to stay attentive to your body’s response.

Prescription Medications

Taking a prescription medication twice can require specific actions:

Contact Your Healthcare Provider or Pharmacist

Reach out to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Explain the situation and provide details about the medication. They will give you tailored guidance.

what to do if you take medication twice by mistake

Follow Professional Advice

Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider or pharmacist. They might suggest adjusting the dosage for the day or offer specific instructions based on the medication’s properties.

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Critical or Life-Saving Medications

For crucial medications, the steps are more urgent:

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

If you’ve accidentally taken a critical or life-saving medication twice, don’t wait. Seek medical help promptly.

Contact Emergency Services

If the effects of the medication could be severe, call emergency services right away. Quick action can make a significant difference in ensuring your safety.

Preventing Future Accidents

Taking steps to avoid accidental double dosing can save you from future worries. Here’s how you can prevent such incidents:

Organize Your Medications

Use Pill Organizers

Arrange your medications in pill organizers. These handy compartments help you keep track of what you’ve taken and when. They come in various sizes and styles to suit your needs.

Set Alarms or Reminders

Use Your Phone

Set alarms or reminders on your phone for medication times. This can prevent forgetting or confusion, ensuring you take your medications as prescribed.

Read Labels Carefully

Understand Instructions

When you pick up a new medication, read the label and instructions carefully. Make sure you know the correct dosage, timing, and any specific directions.

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Communicate with Healthcare Providers

Talk to Your Doctor and Pharmacist

Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider and pharmacist. They can clarify any doubts you have about your medications, reducing the chance of mistakes.

Keep a Medication Journal

Note Down Details

Maintain a medication journal. Write down the names of your medications, dosages, and times you take them. This serves as a helpful reference to prevent mix-ups.


Accidentally taking medication twice can be concerning, but with the right approach, you can manage the situation effectively. 

Remember to stay calm, check labels, and assess the medication type. Taking appropriate steps based on the medication can make a significant difference in your well-being. 

Preventive measures such as using pill organizers, setting alarms, reading labels, communicating with healthcare professionals, and keeping a medication journal can further reduce the risk of future incidents. 

By following these guidelines, you can ensure medication safety and maintain your health with confidence.


What should I do if I realize I’ve taken a medication twice?

Stay calm, check the label, identify the medication, assess the risks, drink water, and avoid further doses.

Is accidentally doubling an over-the-counter (OTC) medication harmful?

It’s generally low-risk but monitor for any unusual symptoms.

What if I accidentally double-dose a prescription medication?

Contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance. Follow their advice carefully.

What if I’ve taken a critical medication twice?

Seek medical attention immediately and, if severe, call emergency services.

How can I prevent accidental double dosing in the future?

Use pill organizers, set alarms, read labels carefully, communicate with healthcare providers, and keep a medication journal.

Can I rely on reminders from smartphone apps?

Yes, setting alarms on your phone can be effective in reminding you to take your medications.

Why is open communication with healthcare providers important?

Healthcare professionals can clarify doubts, provide accurate instructions, and reduce the risk of mistakes.

What should I do if I’m unsure about a medication’s instructions?

Consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for clarification.

Is it helpful to keep a record of my medications?

Yes, maintaining a medication journal can help you track what you’re taking and prevent mix-ups.


  • Smith A, et al. Medication errors: a literature review of prevalence and contributing factors. J Adv Nurs. 2007; 62(5): 547-556.
  • Institute for Safe Medication Practices. High-alert medications: safeguarding against errors. ISMP Medication Safety Alert. 2019; 24(2): 1-4.
  • Khezrian M, et al. Medication management and adherence among heart failure patients. Curr Heart Fail Rep. 2019; 16(3): 93-101.
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Medication errors and adverse drug events. Patient Safety Primer. 2021.
  • National Institute on Aging. Taking Medicines: MedlinePlus. 2021.
  • American Pharmacists Association. Medication Safety. Pharmacist’s Manual. 2020.

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