Status epilepticus in a child secondary to ingestion of skin-lightening cream

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2013 May;29(5):662-4. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31828ed1be.


The popularity of the Internet and online media has led to the increased availability of prescription-strength, skin-lightening products contributing to a rise in their use among people with various skin pigment disorders. These products may contain a wide variety of active ingredients such as heavy metals, hydroquinone, and corticosteroids that can be highly toxic, especially after prolonged application. For decades, there have been case reports of both corticosteroid and heavy metal toxicity related to skin-lightening cream use. We report a case of a child who developed status epilepticus after ingesting a skin-lightening solution containing 2% hydroquinone. The toxicodynamics of hydroquinone and its effects on the central nervous system are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Ataxia / chemically induced
  • Ataxia / rehabilitation
  • Eating
  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Hydroquinones / administration & dosage
  • Hydroquinones / poisoning*
  • Infant
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Lorazepam / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Phenobarbital / therapeutic use
  • Phenytoin / analogs & derivatives
  • Phenytoin / therapeutic use
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Skin Lightening Preparations / poisoning*
  • Status Epilepticus / chemically induced*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Hydroquinones
  • Skin Lightening Preparations
  • Phenytoin
  • fosphenytoin
  • Lorazepam
  • hydroquinone
  • Phenobarbital