July 28, 2006 -- The FDA is warning people not to buy or ingest high-strength hydrogen peroxide for medicinal purposes.
High-strength hydrogen peroxide has been falsely touted to treat AIDS, cancercancer, and other serious illnesses, but it has no approved medical uses, says the FDA.
In fact, high-strength hydrogen peroxide may kill or cause serious harm if ingested, even if it is labeled "food-grade," according to the FDA.
Drinking high-strength hydrogen peroxide can cause gastrointestinal irritation or ulcersulcers. Taking it intravenously can inflame the blood vessels at the injection site, cause bubbles in blood vessels (gas embolisms), and prompt potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, the FDA warns.
The FDA's advice: If you're using high-strength hydrogen peroxide for medical reasons, stop immediately and call your doctor.
Warnings to Sellers
On July 19, the FDA issued warning letters to two Texas-based online marketers of high-strength hydrogen peroxide: Frad-35, Inc. and DFWX.
According to the FDA, the two firms' web sites were illegally selling "35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide" to treat AIDS, cancers, emphysemaemphysema, and other serious and life-threatening diseases.
"This concentration is not approved by FDA for any purpose," says Steven Galson, MD, MPH, in an FDA news release. Galson directs the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
"No one has presented any evidence that hydrogen peroxide taken internally has any medical value," Galson continues. "In fact, consuming hydrogen peroxide in the manner touted by these web sites could lead to tragic results."
High-strength hydrogen peroxide has never been approved by the FDA for internal use. It's more than 10 times stronger than the solution used in over-the-counter drugs to disinfect minor cuts.
Dangerous to Use
It is also highly corrosive. The FDA considers the substance to be dangerous, even if handled according to manufacturers' directions.
This isn't the FDA's first warning about high-strength hydrogen peroxide.
In April 1989, the FDA issued a news release about the illegal promotion of industrial-strength hydrogen peroxide to treat AIDS and cancer. That warning followed at least one related death in Texas and several injuries requiring hospitalization.