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May 1957

Boric Acid Poisoning: A Report of Fatal Adult Case from Cutaneous Use A Critical Evaluation of the Use of This Drug in Dermatologic Practice

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, University of Buffalo School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Derm. 1957;75(5):720-728. doi:10.1001/archderm.1957.01550170088015

Boric acid, in one preparation or another, has been used in medical practice since Lord Lister1 first described its effects in 1875. Solutions of it have been used extensively for irrigating wounds and empyema cavities, and for bladder, rectal, and vaginal irrigations, etc. Because of its nonirritating properties, its lack of staining, its buffering qualities, and mild antiseptic values, this drug is one of the commonest used in dermatologic practice.2 It is used in powders, lotions, wet dressings, ointments, and pastes. Most physicians, including dermatologists, regard boric acid as a substance of low toxicity and relatively harmless, and therefore use it indiscriminately. In our opinion, insufficient warning is given in standard dermatologic texts of the possibility of serious poisoning or death from the indiscriminate use of boric acid preparations on the skin.

The purpose of this presentation is to report a fatal case

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