Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 1006–1013 | Cite as

Improved survival in severe paraquat poisoning with repeated pulse therapy of cyclophosphamide and steroids

  • Ja-Liang Lin
  • Dan-Tzu Lin-Tan
  • Kuan-Hsing Chen
  • Wen-Hung Huang
  • Ching-Wei Hsu
  • Hsiang-Hao Hsu
  • Tzung-Hai Yen



To clarify the efficacy of repeated methylprednisolone (MP) and cyclophosphamide (CP) pulse therapy and daily dexamethasone (DEX) therapy in patients with severe paraquat (PQ) poisoning.


A total of 111 patients with severe PQ poisoning and dark-blue color in urine tests within 24 h of intoxication were included prospectively. The control group consisted of 52 patients who were admitted between 1998 and 2001 and who received high doses of CP (2 mg/kg per day) and DEX (5 mg every 6 h) for 14 days. The study group consisted of 59 patients who were admitted from 2002 to 2007 and who received initial MP (1 g) for 3 days and CP (15 mg/kg per day) for 2 days, followed by DEX (5 mg every 6 h) until a PaO2 of >80 mmHg had been achieved, or treated with repeated 1 g MP for 3 days and 1 g CP for 1 day if the PaO2 was <60 mmHg.


There were no differences between the two groups with regard to baseline data and plasma PQ levels. The study group patients had a lower mortality rate (39/59, 66%) than the control group patients (48/52, 92%; P = 0.003, log-rank test). Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that the repeated pulse therapy was correlated with decreased hazard ratios (HR) for all-cause mortality (HR = 0.50, 95% CI 0.31–0.80; P = 0.004) and death from lung fibrosis-related hypoxemia (HR = 0.10, 95% CI 0.04–0.25; P < 0.001) in severely PQ-intoxicated patients.


Repeated pulses of CP and MP, rather than high doses of CP and DEX, may result in a lower mortality rate in patients with severe PQ poisoning.


Severe paraquat poisoning Mortality Repeated pulse therapy Methylprednisolone Cyclophosphamide 


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Copyright information

© Copyright jointly held by Springer and ESICM 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ja-Liang Lin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dan-Tzu Lin-Tan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kuan-Hsing Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen-Hung Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ching-Wei Hsu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hsiang-Hao Hsu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tzung-Hai Yen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Nephrology, Division of Clinical ToxicologyChang Gung Memorial HospitalTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Lin-Kou Medical CenterChang Gung University and School of MedicineTaipeiTaiwan, ROC

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