Dose ingested, vomiting, and outcome in patients ingesting a standard paraquat 20SL formulation

Eileen Deuster, John A Tomenson, Fahim Mohamed, Indika Gawarammana, Nicholas A Buckley, Martin F Wilks, Michael Eddleston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background. FAO specifications for liquid paraquat dichloride SL formulations require the use of an emetic agent to stimulate vomiting within 30 min of ingestion. To date, there is no high-quality evidence of efficacy, despite use of the PP796 emetic since 1979. We first examined the validity of patients’ self-reported dose of paraquat ingested by examining the relationship with blood paraquat concentration and time to death for patients ingesting the standard paraquat SL formulation in a Sri Lankan cohort. As a secondary outcome, we assessed whether ingestion resulted in vomiting within 30 min and whether vomiting was associated with good outcome.
Methods. Patients presenting with paraquat SL self-poisoning were prospectively studied in ten Sri Lankan hospitals in 2003-08. Data on reported dose ingested, incidence and timing of vomiting after ingestion, treatment received, plasma paraquat concentration, and outcome were collected prospectively on presentation to hospital. Time between ingestion and blood sampling was incorporated by covariate adjustment.
Results: 441 patients were recruited to the case series, presenting a median (IQR) of 3.0 (1.5 to 8.1] h post ingestion. Outcome was known for 435 patients of whom 322 (74.0%) died within 42 days, a median of 1.3 (0.6 to 4.4) days post ingestion. Median reported dose ingested was 15 to Conclusion: Importantly, we found good agreement between reported dose ingested and plasma paraquat concentration, case fatality, and time to death, suggesting that the reported dose is a valid marker for the dose ingested. Vomiting occurred within 30 min for 68.5% of patients, exceeding the characteristics for a purported effective emetic in the FAO specifications. However, vomiting within 30 min was associated with approximately double the risk of death compared to those who did not vomit, larger paraquat ingestions, and higher blood paraquat concentrations. In addition, death occurred in many patients who did not vomit, and the proportion vomiting within 30 min only reached 82.1% for the highest ingested dose group. Overall, we found no evidence of benefit resulting from incorporation of the emetic, suggesting that the current FAO specification is not effective at preventing deaths after ingestion of the paraquat SL formulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • emesis
  • paraquat
  • formulation
  • mortality
  • PP796


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