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Friday 01 March 2002

Pemoline ingestion in children: a report of five cases and review of the literature.

By: Nakamura H, Blumer JL, Reed MD.

J Clin Pharmacol 2002 Mar;42(3):275-82

The authors describe five pediatric cases of excessive pemoline ingestion. Based on their experience compared with previously reported cases in the literature, they describe the clinical presentation and rational treatment recommendations for acute pemoline ingestion. Overall, patients experienced a relatively benign clinical course following pemoline ingestion. Symptoms of pemoline ingestion appear to be primarily an accentuation of the drug's pharmacological effects on the central nervous and cardiovascular systems with sinus tachycardia, hypertension, hyperactivity, choreoathetoid movements, and hallucinations being most commonly observed. These findings are consistent with previously reported cases. Possible rhabdomyolysis manifested by evaluation of serum CPK was also observed in 3 of 4 patients in whom this laboratory parameter was measured and appears to be a common finding in acute pemoline poisoning. After acute ingestion, symptoms occurred within 6 hours, lasting up to 48 hours in all patients. Gastric lavage and/or activated charcoal would be effective decontamination measures, whereas ipecac-induced emesis should be avoided after massive ingestion due to the possibility of seizures. Aggressive use of a benzodiazepine appears a reasonable first choice to treat associated involuntary movements, tremor, hyperactivity, irritability, and agitation. Phenothiazines or butyrophenones may also be used especially for serious life-threatening symptoms, including hypertensive crisis and severe hyperthermia, although these serious complications of stimulant overdose have not been reported after pemoline ingestion. If a patient should experience pemoline-induced hypertensive crisis, individual dose titration of labetalol or sodium nitroprusside would appear reasonable pharmacologic approaches for rapid stabilization of blood pressure.

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