The Journal of emergency medicine

Acute hand ischemia after intra-arterial injection of meprobamate powder.

PMID 22497894


Meprobamate tablets contain microcrystalline cellulose, a potent embolic agent that has been shown to cause gangrene in animal studies. Microvascular embolization caused by microcrystalline cellulose can contribute to the ischemic process. We report a case of acute hand ischemia after accidental intra-arterial injection of crushed meprobamate powder in a 23-year-old male drug abuser. The distal tips of the patient's right thumb, index finger, ring finger, and little finger continued to develop gangrene despite medical therapy with heparinization, low molecular-weight dextran infusion, corticosteroid administration, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We believe this is the first case of acute limb ischemia caused by intra-arterial injection of meprobamate powder documented in humans. Emergency physicians should be aware that accidental intra-arterial injection of crushed oral drug formulations is potentially limb threatening and prompt recognition of similar clinical scenarios is of vital importance.