SymptomsSigns and symptoms of significant overdosing of galantamine are predicted to be similar to those of overdosing of other cholinomimetics. These effects generally involve the central nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, and the neuromuscular junction. In addition to muscle weakness or fasciculations, some or all of the signs of a cholinergic crisis may develop: severe nausea, vomiting, gastro-intestinal cramping, salivation, lacrimation, urination, defecation, sweating, bradycardia, hypotension, collapse and convulsions. Increasing muscle weakness together with tracheal hypersecretions and bronchospasm, may lead to vital airway compromise.There have been post-marketing reports of torsade de pointes, QT prolongation, bradycardia, ventricular tachycardia and brief loss of consciousness in association with inadvertent overdoses of galantamine. In one case where the dose was known, eight 4 mg tablets (32 mg total) were ingested on a single day.Two additional cases of accidental ingestion of 32 mg (nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth; nausea, vomiting, and substernal chest pain) and one of 40 mg (vomiting) resulted in brief hospitalisations for observation with full recovery. One patient, who was prescribed 24 mg/day and had a history of hallucinations over the previous two years, mistakenly received 24 mg twice- daily for 34 days and developed hallucinations requiring hospitalisation. Another patient, who was prescribed 16 mg/day of oral solution, inadvertently ingested 160 mg (40 ml) and experienced sweating, vomiting, bradycardia, and near-syncope one hour later, which necessitated hospital treatment. His symptoms resolved within 24 hours.
TreatmentAs in any case of overdose, general supportive measures should be used. In severe cases, anticholinergics such as atropine can be used as a general antidote for cholinomimetics. An initial dose of 0.5 to 1.0 mg i.v. is recommended, with subsequent doses based on the clinical response. Because strategies for the management of overdose are continually evolving, it is advisable to contact a poison control centre to determine the latest recommendations for the management of an overdose.