Fixed eruption due to quinine in tonic water: a case report with high-performance liquid chromatography and ultraviolet A analyses

J Dermatol. 2013 Aug;40(8):629-31. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.12195. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


Fixed drug eruption is a common cutaneous adverse reaction in young patients with a characteristic clinical appearance. However, the diagnosis and identification of the substance may be difficult if food or food additives provoke the fixed eruption. A 26-year-old man had a history of two episodes of cutaneous erythema with residual pigmentation. Close examination of the history including his diet in addition to an oral challenge test and patch testing led to the diagnosis of fixed eruption secondary to quinine in tonic water. We examined for the presence of quinine in commercially available brands of tonic water using ultraviolet A and irradiation and high-performance liquid chromatography. Both Schweppes and CANADA DRY brands of tonic water emitted fluorescent light upon ultraviolet A irradiation, and contained quinine at concentrations of 67.9 and 61.3 mg/L, respectively. Quinine contained in some tonic waters may trigger fixed eruption.

Keywords: fixed eruption; high-performance liquid chromatography; quinine; tonic water; ultraviolet A.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbonated Beverages / analysis*
  • Drug Eruptions / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / adverse effects*
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / analysis
  • Quinine / adverse effects*
  • Quinine / analysis


  • Muscle Relaxants, Central
  • Quinine