what happens if you eat too many cough drops?

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Cough drops work as an effective cough reliever and attract many people because of their flavor. But what happens if you eat too many cough drops?


Cough drops claim to be helpful in treating a sore throat or unpleasant nagging cough. Many people love eating them because these lozenges make them feel soothing in the throat and bring about a favorable sweetness. In fact, cough drops are not considered as drugs, so it is common that people consume them even without having an actual cough or throat pain. This habit raises a controversial question:” What happens if you eat too many cough drops?” Let’s take a look below!

What is a cough drop?

Before we discuss what happens if you eat too many cough drops, you need to know what cough drop is and what ingredients it contains.

Cough drop, also called throat lozenge or troche, is a small medicated tablet that is produced to temporarily stop coughing and sore throat by dissolving slowly in patient’s mouth.

Throat lozenges are reported to the origin in Ancient Egypt in around 1000 BC. At first, they were made from honey combined with spices, herbs, and citrus. Nearly three thousand years later, the discovery of morphine and heroin led to a new era of cough drops. However, the risk of opioid dependence stopped us from using morphine and heroin. Instead, manufacturers find a perfect alternative as we see today.

The ingredients

The principal ingredient in modern throat lozenges is Menthol, a compound of peppermint oil that has the cooling ability. Though it is just temporary, this cooling effect is important because it helps relieve a sore throat or a cough, makes it easier for you to eat or talk pleasantly.

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Generally, a drop usually contains 1-15 milligrams of menthol. So how much menthol can put you in trouble? The answer is quite surprising: 50-500 milligrams of menthol per kilogram of weight. What does that mean? It means a 150-pound man will need to eat from 340 to…3400 drops in a short period of time to risk his life of menthol poisoning. So,  someone who wants to self-suicideself-suicide, I think 3400 cough drops are  a good option.

Although there is no limit to how many lozenges you should consume, it is better to comply with the instruction and dosage from manufacturers. You may also visit a doctor or pharmacist to find out how much is suitable for your health.

What happens if you eat too many cough drops?

If you can’t stand the sweetness and soothing feeling a cough drop bring about and consume it on a daily basis, you had better read this part to know what may emerge.

Menthol Poisoning

In fact, there is no solid evidence that menthol is harmful to our health. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims Menthol as a safe substance. However, it doesn’t mean poisoning never happens though it is quite rare. Here are some symptoms of a typical peppermint oil poisoned person:

Diarrhea: It’s common to hear that the causes of diarrhea are virus and bacteria. In this situation, overwhelming antibiotics ingredient in cough drop can kill good bacteria and lead to mild or lethal diarrhea.

Heartburn: Caused by acid reflux in lozenges, heartburn is the name of a condition when some parts of your stomach force back into the esophagus and cause your chest to be painful.

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Dizziness: A common symptom of any poisoning case.

Decreased mental function: Patient can become unconscious or a coma.

Painful sore mouth
Weakened muscles
Affected kidney function

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All of the above symptoms were found on an 86-year-old man who ate cough drops daily for 20 years. Fortunately, he was saved and restored to a normal state after stopping that habit.

Sadly, there was another case of peppermint oil poison (though it was not from cough drops) that led to the fatal death of a 21-year-old man. It is reported that he inhaled too much peppermint fumes and died after 10 days of medical treatment.

I guess now you know what to do. It is not good consuming bags of menthol-rich cough drops on a daily basis so you had better get rid of this habit as soon as possible to avoid the chance of menthol poisoning, or at least, avoid watery stools caused by diarrhea.

Menthol Allergy
What happens if you eat too many cough drops and you realize that you are allergic to an ingredient of it? Probably you have heard of toothpaste allergy because many people are sensitive to menthol in toothpaste. If you are one of them, be careful with cough drops too.

Rashes and swellings on the skin and in the mouth of sensitive people are common symptoms of a menthol allergic case. Another severe reaction, scientifically called Anaphylaxis, is extremely dangerous and can even lead to death. Fortunately, this reaction is quite rare.

Other problems
1. To create the sweetness, there is a large amount of sugar used in a cough drop.

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Therefore, consuming too many lozenges can be harmful to people with diabetes or other blood sugar issues.

2. Moreover, cough drop also contains Zinc. A small amount of Zinc could be useful for human body. It can help to treat the common cold or prevent respiratory infections. However, Zinc contains a metal called Cadmium, which can cause kidney failure if you overdose it.

3. The richness of Vitamin C in lozenges can be an advantage. But if you eat too many cough drops without doctor’s recommendation, it results in Vitamin C redundancy and your body definitely nevfunction



Lozenges are a great relief for common cold with coughing and a sore throat.

However, it is just a temporary solution so we highly recommend you to visit a doctor for professional advice and medical treatment.

Coughing and sore throat can also be symptoms of other severe diseases so don’t neglect them!
Hope that after reading this article you can find an answer for the question “What happens if you eat too many cough drops?” and know how to use lozenges in the best way for a better health. If you have any question, don’t hesitate to comment below so that we can contact you as soon as possible.

Thank you!



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