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To the Editor:—
I would like to call attention to the dangerous effects arising from the indiscriminate sale, across the counter, of potassium permanganate crystals and tablets. I am aware of several instances of severe ulcerations of the upper vagina resulting from the use of this drug by women who wished to produce an abortion. This chemical, when used undiluted in tablet or crystal form, is a potent escharotic. Three patients had large necrotic craters in the vagina. Bleeding from these ulcers can threaten life. Potassium permanganate, even for local use in a high dilution, is not an essential form of treatment today. I believe measures should be taken to prohibit its sale across the counters of the nation's drug stores, especially to persons without prescriptions.
Mechanik HK. DANGER IN USE OF POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE. JAMA. 1960;173(6):712. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020240100030