'Use extreme caution': Man's death prompts warning on atropine eye drops

Perth man died from ingesting a toxic amount of the medication prescribed to treat hypersalivation

The TGA is advising "extreme caution" when prescribing off-label atropine eye drops to treat hypersalivation, following the death of a Perth man who ingested a toxic quantity of the medication.

The man died in 2014 after ingesting 6-8ml of atropine, which is more than 50-100 times the expected therapeutic dose.

A coronial investigation, reported earlier this year, found the atropine had been prescribed off-label for sublingual administration to treat hypersalivation.

Hypersalivation is not an approved indication for atropine eye drops in Australia.

The coroner found no evidence to suggest the patient — who had been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder — was suicidal, and therefore ruled the ingestion of a toxic quantity of atropine was accidental.

While “shortcomings” were found in the patient’s care, the coroner said they were not the result of incompetence or a