Propylene Glycol Intoxication

Leo L. Bossaert, MD; Hendrik E. Demey, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(3):611-614. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370030208047.
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To the Editor.  —In the GRAND ROUNDS on ethylene glycol intoxication that appeared in the August 1986 issue of the Archives,1 Turk described propylene glycol as "... a more innocuous compound that had been allowed by the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] as a solvent for certain drugs...." Although this compound is widely used as a solvent for drugs that are insoluble or unstable in water and is considered innocuous in many major textbooks, we have had a different experience with propylene glycol.It has been reported by a number of authors that propylene glycol can cause a variety of side effects including the following: hyperosmolality in burn patients and neonates, perception deafness, skin irritation, different neurologic problems (such as obnubilation and convulsions), high anion gap acidosis due to lactate accumulation,2 a so-called protaminelike effect with inhibition of heparin, and, finally, acute intravascular hemolysis.3We recently reported


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