Objective: There is limited information on mirtazapine overdose, but cases of severe effects (seizures, serotonin toxicity and coma) have been reported. We aimed to investigate the clinical effects and complications of mirtazapine overdose.
Methods: This was an observational case series of mirtazapine overdoses (> 120 mg) identified from admissions to a toxicology unit between January 1987 and August 2013. Demographic information, details of ingestion, clinical effects, ECG parameters (HR, QT and QRS), and length of stay were extracted from a clinical database.
Results: From 267 mirtazapine overdoses, there were 89 single-agent mirtazapine ingestions and 178 cases where mirtazapine was taken with at least one other drug. The median age of the 89 single-agent mirtazapine ingestions was 36 years [interquartile range (IQR): 26-49 years; Range: 15-81 years]; 45 were female (51%). The median ingested dose was 420 mg (IQR: 270-750 mg; Range: 150-1350 mg) and 41 patients (46%) had a Glasgow coma score (GCS) < 15, but the minimum GCS was 10. There were no seizures, serotonin toxicity or delirium. Tachycardia occurred in 29 patients (33%) and hypertension in 32 patients (36%). The median QRS was 80 ms (Range: 80-120 ms) and there were no cases with QT prolongation. There were no arrhythmias and no deaths. The median length of stay was 14 h (IQR: 8.8-18.2 h; Range:2.2-75 h). No single-agent mirtazapine patient was admitted to intensive care. The 178 patients taking co-ingestants had more severe toxicity depending on the co-ingested drug.
Conclusion: Mirtazapine appears to be relatively benign in overdose, associated with tachycardia, mild hypertension and mild CNS depression not requiring intervention.