Methylene Blue--a therapeutic dye for all seasons?

J Chemother. 2002 Oct;14(5):431-43. doi: 10.1179/joc.2002.14.5.431.


Since it was first synthesised in 1876, Methylene Blue (MB) has found uses in many different areas of clinical medicine, ranging from dementia to cancer chemotherapy. In addition, MB formed the basis of antimicrobial chemotherapy--particularly in the area of antimalarials--and eventually led to the discovery of the neuroleptic drug families. More recently, the photosensitising potential of MB and its congeners has been recognised, and these are being applied in various antimicrobial fields, especially that of blood disinfection. The range of activities of MB is due to the combination of its simple chemical structure and facility for oxidation-reduction reactions in situ.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Dementia / drug therapy
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Methylene Blue / adverse effects
  • Methylene Blue / pharmacology*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Methylene Blue