Peroxide ingestion as a "natural cure" can be fatal

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Ingesting hydrogen peroxide can cause embolisms affecting the cardiac, respiratory, and neurological systems.
Ingesting hydrogen peroxide can cause embolisms affecting the cardiac, respiratory, and neurological systems.

(HealthDay News) — Ingesting high-concentration hydrogen peroxide as a "natural cure" or cleansing agent is a dangerous practice that is associated with a high incidence of embolic events, according to a study published recently in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The current investigation looked at both the accidental and intentional consumption of industrial-concentration peroxide in formulations of 10% or more, as opposed to the low-concentration (3% to 5%) hydrogen peroxide liquid found in drug stores. The study included 10 years of information from 2001 and 2011. The information was from the US National Poison Data System and the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

 

In that time frame, 294 cases of high-concentration peroxide poisoning were identified. The researchers found that 13.9% of the patients demonstrated evidence of embolic events, and 6.8% either died following peroxide ingestion or suffered long-term disability. Significant injury — ranging from seizures, respiratory distress, strokes, heart attacks, and altered mental states — wasn't always immediately apparent. Problems occurred as long as 25 hours following peroxide ingestion.

"Symptomatic high-concentration peroxide exposures had a high incidence of associated embolic events in this cohort," the author write. "Patients with evidence of embolic events had a high rate of death. Early hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be useful, but routine endoscopy is unlikely to be of benefit."

Reference

  1. Hatten BW, French LK, Horowitz BZ, Hendrickson RG. Outcomes after high-concentration peroxide ingestions. Ann Emerg Med. 2017. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2016.11.022
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