The side effects associated with hydrazine sulfate use have been mainly gastrointestinal and neurologic.[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12]Nausea and/or vomiting, dizziness, and sensory and motor neuropathies have been reported.[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12] The sensory and motor neuropathies have included paresthesias (abnormal touch sensations, such as burning or prickling, in the absence of external stimuli) of the upper and lower extremities (i.e., the arms and the legs, including the hands and the feet), polyneuritis (simultaneous inflammation of several peripheral nerves), and impaired fine motor function (e.g., an impaired ability to write).[2,5,7,8,9] Other side effects have included dry skin and/or itching, insomnia, and hypoglycemia.[1,2,7,9] One case of fatal liver and kidney failure and one case of severe encephalopathy (an injury to the brain) have been associated with the use of hydrazine sulfate.[13,14] The former case involved a man aged 55 years with squamous cell carcinoma of the maximillary sinus who purchased hydrazine sulfate from a source found on the Internet and proceeded to take it without medical advice or supervision. After 4 months he presented with evidence of renal and liver toxicity, which eventually resulted in death. This case highlights the danger of accessing materials and medical information on the Internet and proceeding with self-medication without seeking proper medical advice and supervision.
The side effects of hydrazine sulfate have been described as mild to moderate in severity, and their incidence appears to have been low. Most side effects are reported to resolve when treatment is stopped. However, limited evidence from animal studies suggests that hydrazine sulfate is highly toxic when combined with either alcohol or barbiturates.[16,17,18] Reviewed in 
Some believe that effective communication between doctor and patient is a core clinical skill that should be taught as rigorously as other medical sciences are taught. Underlying this belief is a growing body of research and development of guidelines acknowledging that physicians need not be born with excellent communication skills but can learn as they practice various other aspects of medicine.
Clinicians specializing in cancer acknowledge that insufficient training...
Spremulli E, Wampler GL, Regelson W: Clinical study of hydrazine sulfate in advanced cancer patients. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 3 (2): 121-4, 1979.
Gold J: Use of hydrazine sulfate in terminal and preterminal cancer patients: results of investigational new drug (IND) study in 84 evaluable patients. Oncology 32 (1): 1-10, 1975.
Kosty MP, Fleishman SB, Herndon JE 2nd, et al.: Cisplatin, vinblastine, and hydrazine sulfate in advanced, non-small-cell lung cancer: a randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind phase III study of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B. J Clin Oncol 12 (6): 1113-20, 1994.
Loprinzi CL, Goldberg RM, Su JQ, et al.: Placebo-controlled trial of hydrazine sulfate in patients with newly diagnosed non-small-cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol 12 (6): 1126-9, 1994.
Filov VA, Gershanovich ML, Danova LA, et al.: Experience of the treatment with Sehydrin (Hydrazine Sulfate, HS) in the advanced cancer patients. Invest New Drugs 13 (1): 89-97, 1995.
Lerner HJ, Regelson W: Clinical trial of hydrazine sulfate in solid tumors. Cancer Treat Rep 60 (7): 959-60, 1976.
Gershanovich ML, Danova LA, Kondratyev VB, et al.: Clinical data on the antitumor activity of hydrazine sulfate. Cancer Treat Rep 60 (7): 933-5, 1976.
Gershanovich ML, Danova LA, Ivin BA, et al.: Results of clinical study antitumor action of hydrazine sulfate. Nutr Cancer 3 (1): 7-12, 1981.
Ochoa M Jr, Wittes RE, Krakoff IH: Trial of hydrazine sulfate (NSC-150014) in patients with cancer. Cancer Chemother Rep 59 (6): 1151-4, 1975 Nov-Dec.
Chlebowski RT, Bulcavage L, Grosvenor M, et al.: Hydrazine sulfate in cancer patients with weight loss. A placebo-controlled clinical experience. Cancer 59 (3): 406-10, 1987.
Chlebowski RT, Heber D, Richardson B, et al.: Influence of hydrazine sulfate on abnormal carbohydrate metabolism in cancer patients with weight loss. Cancer Res 44 (2): 857-61, 1984.
Herndon JE 2nd, Fleishman S, Kosty MP, et al.: A longitudinal study of quality of life in advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 8931. Control Clin Trials 18 (4): 286-300, 1997.
Hainer MI, Tsai N, Komura ST, et al.: Fatal hepatorenal failure associated with hydrazine sulfate. Ann Intern Med 133 (11): 877-80, 2000.
Nagappan R, Riddell T: Pyridoxine therapy in a patient with severe hydrazine sulfate toxicity. Crit Care Med 28 (6): 2116-8, 2000.
Black M, Hussain H: Hydrazine, cancer, the Internet, isoniazid, and the liver. Ann Intern Med 133 (11): 911-3, 2000.
Masaki H, Arai H, Torii K: Newly developed animal model with alcoholic liver damage induced by an inhibitor for gluconeogenesis, hydrazine sulfate. Gastroenterol Jpn 24 (5): 584, 1989.
Suzuki H, Tominaga T, Mizuno H, et al.: Ethanol and hydrazine sulfate induced chronic hepatic injury in rats: the curative effect of administration of glucogenic amino acids. Alcohol Alcohol Suppl 1A: 111-7, 1993.
Gold J: Incompatibility of hydrazine sulfate and pentobarbital in the treatment of tumor bearing animals. [Abstract] Proc Am Assoc Cancer Res 18: A-999, 250, 1977.
U.S. General Accounting Office.: Cancer Drug Research: Contrary to Allegation, NIH Hydrazine Sulfate Studies Were Not Flawed. Washington, DC: U.S. General Accounting Office, 1995, GAO-HEHS-95-141. Also available online. Last accessed August 10, 2012.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute
September 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this