Propylene glycol (PG) is a commonly used solvent for oral, intravenous, and topical pharmaceutical agents. Although PG is generally considered safe, when used in high doses or for prolonged periods, PG toxicity can occur. Reported adverse effects from PG include central nervous system (CNS) toxicity, hyperosmolarity, hemolysis, cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, agitation, and lactic acidosis. Patients at risk for toxicity include infants, those with renal or hepatic insuficiency, epilepsy, and burn patients receiving extensive dermal applications of PG containing products. Laboratory monitoring of PG levels, osmolarity, lactate, pyruvate, bicarbonate, creatinine, and anion gap can assist practitioners in making the diagnosis of PG toxicity. Numerous studies and case reports have been published on PG toxicity in adults. However, very few have been reported in pediatric patient populations. A review of the literature is presented.
Keywords: adverse effects; pediatric; propylene glycol; toxicity.