Author(s): Yang CC, Wu ML, Deng JF
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Abstract Acute ingestion of copper sulfate has been reported to cause gastrointestinal injury, hemolysis, methemoglobinemia, hepatorenal failure, shock; or even death. The toxicity of organocopper compounds, however, remains largely unknown. A 40-y-old man attempted suicide by ingesting some 50 ml of Sesamine fungicide. He immediately developed headache, vomiting and abdominal pain, followed by progressive dyspnea, cyanosis, dark urine and diarrhea. Severe methemoglobinemia and hemolysis were documented, and treatment with ascorbic acid and hydration was commenced. He was referred to our service 3 d later for methylene blue treatment. Despite the above treatment, his symptomatology persisted and it was not until 5 d post-ingestion that the implicated fungicide was identified as copper-8-hydroxyquinolate. BAL therapy and plasma exchange were instituted, which decreased his plasma hemoglobin from 1,300 mg/dL to 29.1 mg/dL, and lowered his methemoglobin level from 20.9\% to 1.1\%. His serum and urine copper concentration dropped from 238 microg/dL to 96 microg/dL and from 112 microg/dL to 16 microg/dL, respectively. He was discharged uneventfully 18 d post-ingestion. Pre-existing glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency as well as copper-induced inhibition of G6PD activity was documented during hospitalization. Organocopper compounds may cause prolonged hemolysis and methemoglobinemia through oxidative stress, especially among patients with G6PD deficiency. Antidotal therapy with methylene blue is not likely to be effective in this setting: treatment with intensive supportive measures and other therapeutic options, such as plasma exchange, should be sought.
This article was published in Vet Hum Toxicol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology