Published:December 21, 2022DOI:



      Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is an anti-oxidant found in many over-the-counter supplements and is used in treatments for diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Although it is a safe oral molecule, there have been eight cases of ALA toxicity reported. Three reported cases were among adult patients and five were among pediatric patients. A 14-year-old girl died after ingestion of 6 g of ALA led to multi-organ failure.

      Case Report

      A 42-year-old woman presented to the emergency department 4 h after an intentional overdose of 10 tablets of ALA 600 mg each (6 g, 92.3 mg/kg). She developed refractory seizures, metabolic acidosis, thrombocytopenia, rhabdomyolysis, depressed cardiac contractility, kidney injury, and supraventricular tachycardia. Her condition deteriorated and she developed multi-organ failure. The patient was started on dual pressors, anti-epileptic medications, high-dose insulin and euglycemia protocol, and methylene blue (1 mg/kg). Despite aggressive resuscitation, she required intubation and died. Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This? This was the ninth case and the first reported adult mortality from ALA toxicity with multi-organ failure. Our case shared some similar findings with previously reported cases, including refractory seizures, metabolic acidosis, thrombocytopenia, and rhabdomyolysis. Refractory supraventricular tachycardia and severe agitation have not been reported with ALA toxicity previously. The range of toxicity of ALA is not well established. A reported dose of 6 g caused death in a pediatric patient as well as our patient, but others survived doses of 6 g and 18 g. Toxicologists and emergency physicians should be prepared for clinical deterioration and consider aggressive resuscitation in severe ALA toxicity.


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