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September 19, 1966

Hepatotoxicity After Methoxyflurane Administration

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York.

JAMA. 1966;197(12):1037-1039. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110120143040

METHOXYFLURANE (Penthrane) is a shortchain halogenated ether which was developed as a general anesthetic by Van Poznak and Artusio1 and has been in clinical use since 1959. Although chemically an ether, this compound has organic chloride and fluoride substituents similar to that of halothane.

In view of this structural similarity it might be expected that increasing use of methoxyflurane will be associated with rare reports of drug-induced hepatic injury. To our knowledge, this is the first nonfatal case of suspected methoxyflurane hepatotoxicity with documented hepatocellular necrosis.

Report of a Case  In June 1965, a 58-year-old Negro woman (NYH 159-803) was seen in the outpatient department complaining of a persistent vaginal discharge. A friable lesion, which on biopsy proved to be a squamous-cell carcinoma was noted in the vaginal vault. She was admitted for treatment in July 1965. She had suffered from attacks of acute pelvic inflammatory disease in 1939 and 1946 with episodic, recurrent lower abdominal pain. A hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy was performed in 1953.