Phenazopyridine-Induced Methaemoglobinaemia The Aftermath of Dysuria Treatment.

Phenazopyridine is an over-the-counter urinary analgesic commonly used to alleviate the burning and urgency associated with lower urinary tract infections. Methaemoglobinaemia is an uncommon adverse effect of phenazopyridine use. We report a case of methaemoglobinaemia in a patient prescribed daily phenazopyridine to treat urethral and bladder irritation caused by a chronic indwelling Foley catheter.
Case description:
A 55-year-old female resident of a long-term acute care facility with a chronic Foley, tracheostomy and ventilator-dependent respiratory failure was observed to have generalized dusky skin and hypoxia. Pulse oximetry was reading in the high 80s despite administration of 100% FiO2. ABG revealed paO2 of 451, oxyhaemoglobin level 75% and methaemoglobin level 22%. Medication review indicated that the patient was prescribed phenazopyridine 400 mg TID for the previous 2 months. This medication was discontinued. Considering she was chronically taking mirtazapine, she can increase risk of serotonin syndrome should she be administered first-line treatment with methylene blue. Vitamin C was thus instead administered as a second-line agent. Serial ABGs showed a rapid decline in methaemoglobin levels and an increase in oxyhaemoglobin within 2 days.
Acquired methaemoglobinaemia is a rare adverse effect of treatment with phenazopyridine. This risk increases when drug dosage and duration exceed manufacturer specifications. Treatment typically includes cessation of the offending drug and administration of methylene blue in severe cases. A thorough medication reconciliation should be performed prior to methylene blue initiation, as patients taking serotonergic medications (for example, MAOIs, SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs) are at increased risk of serotonin toxicity with co-administration of methylene blue. In these instances, ascorbic acid/vitamin C can be chosen as an alternative treatment agent.
Work-up of refractory hypoxia should involve a thorough review of medications as even some over-the-counter drugs can cause the fatal side effect of methaemoglobinaemia. Treatment with vitamin C should be considered over methylene blue if serotonergic medications have been recently prescribed in order to avoid risk of serotonin syndrome.
Methaemoglobinaemia is an uncommon, life-threatening adverse effect of phenazopyridine use. Presentation depends on the severity of the disorder, ranging from headache, weakness, lightheadedness and dyspnoea, to arrhythmias, confusion, seizures and multiorgan failure.Workup of refractory hypoxia should involve a comprehensive medication review as even some over-the-counter drugs can cause methaemoglobinaemia.Management of methaemoglobinaemia involves cessation of the offending drug, administration of supplemental oxygen and treatment with methylene blue (1-2 mg/kg) if MetHb >30%, or for symptomatic patients with MetHb >20%. Vitamin C can be used as an alternative agent if there is a contraindication to methylene blue (for example, with patients simultaneously receiving serotonergic medications and/or those with G6PD deficiency).
AuthorsAmina Hamza, Adeel Nasrullah, Romil Singh, Briana DiSilvio
JournalEuropean journal of case reports in internal medicine (Eur J Case Rep Intern Med) Vol. 9 Issue 2 Pg. 003191 ( 2022) ISSN: 2284-2594 [Electronic] Italy
PMID35265556 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Copyright© EFIM 2022.

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