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Article
July 1932

PHENOLPHTHALEIN ERUPTION: EXPERIMENTAL DATA ON ITS CAUSATION

Author Affiliations

Instructor in Dermatology and Syphilology, University of Michigan Medical School ANN ARBOR, MICH.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1932;26(1):125-130. doi:10.1001/archderm.1932.01450030128017
Abstract

In 1918, Abramowitz1 proved definitely that some chronic, recurring, fixed pigmentary eruptions could be caused by an idiosyncrasy to phenolphthalein. Since that time, many cases have been reported in which the same etiologic agent has been found. Phenolphthalein is also known to produce urticaria2 and herpes simplex3 besides the classic picture of a fixed pigmentary dermatitis. Similar eruptions are produced by antipyrine, arsphenamine and amidopyrine.

Considerable discussion has arisen as to how this dermatitis is produced. Wise and Abramowitz4 felt that it was most likely due to some split product of phenolphthalein in the body. Pollitzer5 has held similar views and suggested that the phenol radical might be the exciting agent. The general consensus is that it is due to impurities in the drug, because toxic effects have been alleged to be more frequent with the use of so-called yellow phenolphthalein,

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