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December 16, 1968

Lidocaine vs Parabens as Convulsants

Author Affiliations

Regional Drug Information Center Ann Arbor, Mich

JAMA. 1968;206(12):2743. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150120077032

To the Editor:—  In a recent letter to the editor (205:803, 1968) Richard S. Crampton, MD, intimated that the methylparaben present in the lidocaine hydrochloride preparation (Xylocaine, Astra 1%), used to control ventricular tachycardia, was a causative agent in convulsions and respiratory arrest. The source article for this intimation, by Schorr (204:859, 1968), refers to allergic reactions with the p-hydroxybenzoate family of bacteriostatic and fungistatic agents (administered topically) and would appear to have little bearing on the toxic reactions described. Matthews et al1 in studying the acute and chronic toxic reactions of p-hydroxybenzoic acid esters on dogs, rats, and mice revealed that the lethal dose (LD)50 of methylparaben, as the sodium salt, given intravenously to mice was 170 ±8.4 mg/kg. In dogs, the fatal intravenous dose of methylparaben was 940 mg/kg, when injected at 20 mg/kg/min, and 80 mg/kg at a rate of 40