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August 1971

Glutethimide Intoxication: A Prospective Study of 70 Patients Treated Conservatively Without Hemodialysis

Author Affiliations

Providence, RI

From the Department of Medicine, Division of Renal Diseases, Rhode Island Hospital; and the Division of Biological and Medical Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI.

Arch Intern Med. 1971;128(2):215-219. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310200051003

A prospective study of 70 patients admitted to the Rhode Island Hospital and treated for glutethimide intoxication conservatively, without hemodialysis, was undertaken. The diagnosis was confirmed in each case by elevated blood glutethimide levels; mixed intoxications with barbiturates were excluded by negative blood levels. Although only 1 patient died, 31 were unresponsive on admission and had complicated clinical courses associated with significant morbidity. Blood and cerebrospinal fluid glutethimide levels obtained on admission and subsequently were poorly correlated with duration of coma or morbidity. We conclude that (1) plasma glutethimide values are needed to confirm the diagnosis but are of little prognostic significance; (2) conservative treatment is associated with a very low mortality, although frequent and significant morbidity does occur among comatose patients; and (3) hemodialysis would appear to be needed rarely in the treatment of patients with glutethimide intoxication.

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