Recognition, treatment, and prevention of propylene glycol toxicity

Semin Dial. 2007 May-Jun;20(3):217-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2007.00280.x.


Propylene glycol is a commonly used solvent for oral, intravenous, and topical pharmaceutical preparations. Although it is considered safe, large intravenous doses given over a short period of time can be toxic. Underlying renal insufficiency and hepatic dysfunction raise risk for toxicity. Toxic effects include hyperosmolality, increased anion gap metabolic acidosis (due to lactic acidosis), acute kidney injury, and sepsis-like syndrome. Treatment of toxicity includes hemodialysis to effectively remove propylene glycol. Prevention is best achieved by limiting the dose of propylene glycol infused.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury / therapy*
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Propylene Glycol / adverse effects*
  • Propylene Glycol / blood
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects*


  • Solvents
  • Propylene Glycol