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August 17, 1935


JAMA. 1935;105(7):502-504. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760330028008

Potassium permanganate was recommended as an antidote for certain poisons by Moor,1 whose papers embrace a curious mixture of truth and error. Potassium permanganate is commonly recommended as an antidote for organic poisons in the stomach, but there is a striking divergence of opinion concerning the amount to be administered and the concentration of the solution to be used. One hesitates to cite the names of persons with reference to a common error, but a few concrete examples are desirable. Fantus2 says:

The nearly always fatal dose of barbital is about 10 Gm., of phenobarbital about 4 Gm. and of dial about 2.4 Gm.... The stomach should be washed thoroughly with diluted (pink) permanganate solution.

The color of solutions of potassium permanganate varies from lilac to deep purple, depending on the volume and the concentration, and whether viewed by transmitted or reflected light. A physician was once asked