Skip to main content

Muscle tightness and sometimes pain may occur at the injection site.


The most common side effects of atropine can be attributed to its antimuscarinic action. These include dryness of the mouth, blurred vision, dry eyes, photophobia, confusion, headache, dizziness, tachycardia, palpitations, flushing, urinary hesitancy or retention, constipation, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, nausea and vomiting, loss of libido, and impotence. Anhidrosis may produce heat intolerance and impairment of temperature regulation in a hot environment. Dysphagia,

paralytic ileus, and acute angle closure glaucoma, maculopapular rash, petechial rash, and scarletiniform rash have also been reported.

Larger or toxic doses may produce such central effects as restlessness, tremor, fatigue, locomotor difficulties, delirium followed by hallucinations, depression, and, ultimately medullary paralysis and death. Large doses can also lead to circulatory collapse. In such cases, blood pressure declines and death due to respiratory failure may ensue following paralysis and coma.

Cardiovascular adverse events reported in the literature for atropine include, but are not limited to, sinus tachycardia, palpitations, premature ventricular contractions, atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, ventricular flutter, ventricular fibrillation, cardiac syncope, asystole, and myocardial infarction. (See PRECAUTIONS)

Hypersensitivity reactions will occasionally occur, are usually seen as skin rashes, and may progress to exfoliation. Anaphylactic reaction and laryngospasm are rare.

Pralidoxime Chloride

Pralidoxime can cause blurred vision, diplopia and impaired accommodation, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, nausea, tachycardia, increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, muscular weakness, dry mouth, emesis, rash, dry skin, hyperventilation, decreased renal function, and decreased sweating when given parenterally to normal volunteers who have not been exposed to anticholinesterase poisons.

In several cases of organophosphorous poisoning, excitement and manic behavior have occurred immediately following recovery of consciousness, in either the presence or absence of pralidoxime administration. However, similar behavior has not been reported in subjects given pralidoxime in the absence of organophosphorous poisoning.

Elevations in SGOT and/or SGPT enzyme levels were observed in 1 of 6 normal volunteers given 1200 mg of pralidoxime intramuscularly, and in 4 of 6 volunteers given 1800 mg intra muscularly. Levels returned to normal in about two weeks. Transient elevations in creatine kinase were observed in all normal volunteers given the drug.

Atropine and Pralidoxime Chloride

When atropine and pralidoxime are used together, the signs of atropinization may occur earlier than might be expected when atropine is used alone.

Inadvertant Injection

The DuoDote Auto-Injector should be administered by emergency medical services personnel to treat organophosphorous poisoning. However, an injection might be given by mistake to someone who is not poisoned.

Studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of atropine and pralidoxime on individuals in the absence of poisoning.

Atropine 2 mg IM, roughly the equivalent of one DuoDote Auto-Injector, when given to healthy male volunteers, is associated with minimal effects on visual, motor, and mental functions, though unsteadiness walking and difficulty concentrating may occur. Atropine reduces body sweating and increases body temperature, particularly with exercise and under hot conditions.

Atropine 4 mg IM, roughly the equivalent of two DuoDote Auto-Injectors, when given to healthy male volunteers, is associated with impaired visual acuity, visual near point accommodation, logical reasoning, digital recall, learning, and cognitive reaction time. Ability to read is reduced or lost. Subjects are unsteady and need to concentrate on walking. These effects begin about 15 minutes to one hour or more post-dose.

Atropine 6 mg IM, roughly the equivalent of three DuoDote Auto-Injectors, when given to healthy male volunteers, is associated with the effects described above plus additional central effects including poor coordination, poor attention span, and visual hallucinations (colored flashes) in many subjects. Frank visual hallucinations, auditory hallucinations, disorientation, and ataxia occur in some subjects. Skilled and labor-intense tasks are performed more slowly and less efficiently. Decision making takes longer and is sometimes impaired.

It is unclear if the results of the above studies can be extrapolated to other populations. In the elderly and patients with co-morbid conditions, the effects of ≥ 2 mg atropine on the ability to see, walk and think properly are unstudied; effects may be greater in susceptible populations.

Symptoms of pralidoxime overdose may include: dizziness, blurred vision, diplopia, headache, impaired accommodation, nausea, and slight tachycardia. Transient hypertension due to pralidoxime may last several hours.

Patients who are mistakenly injected with DuoDote should avoid potentially dangerous overheating, avoid vigorous physical activity, and seek medical attention as soon as feasible.