Look alikes  |  Medication safety

Is it a Pill or Candy? Dangerous Look-Alikes

The Bottom Line

Many medicines look like something good to eat or drink. Pay attention to what you put into your mouth!

The Full Story

Antacids are intended for adults but not for children. In this picture, they join look-alike candy-coated almonds, mints, and candy wafers. A child can't tell these apart. Out of their packaging, adults have a hard time, too.

Protect children and prevent adult mistakes by storing medicines in their original containers. Lock them out of sight and reach of children.

Download the webPOISONCONTROL® app (Google Play or App Store), make webPOISONCONTROL one of your browser favorites and program the Poison Control phone number into your phone: 1-800-222-1222.

Rose Ann Gould Soloway, RN, BSN, MSEd, DABAT emerita
Clinical Toxicologist


Call 1-800-222-1222 or

HELP ME online

Prevention Tips

Store medicines in their original, child-resistant packages.

This Really Happened

Case 1: A 12-year-old boy thought a chewable calcium was chocolate candy and ate about twenty of them. His mom realized what he had done about 10 hours later and called Poison Control. Fortunately, the child was having no ill effects then and remained fine afterwards.

Case 2: A 64-year-old male got his anti-Parkinson's pills mixed in a bowl of candies. He swallowed an estimated 7-8 of the sustained release pills along with the candy. He called Poison Control about 45 minutes later. The poison specialist advised that he was at risk for confusion, agitation, low blood pressure (BP) and other ill effects. The patient went to the emergency room and Poison Control provided the emergency physician with treatment recommendations. The patient's BP was not normal; he was observed in the emergency room for several hours. The next day, Poison Control followed-up with him him and he reported he felt fine.