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.[16,17,18,19]
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Lerner HJ, Regelson W: Clinical trial of hydrazine sulfate in solid tumors. Cancer Treat Rep 60 (7): 959-60, 1976.
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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 February 4, 2014.
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