Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is a low molecular weight compound that is used as a cryopreservative when peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) are frozen. Certain adverse effects may occur when products containing DMSO are infused. Some of the effects are dose-dependent while others are not.


Adverse effects:

(1) allergic reactions (see below)

(2) cardiovascular effects (see below)

(3) gastrointestinal effects (see below)

(4) neurologic effects (see below)

(5) elevations in serum transaminases and CK

(6) pain at the site of infusion if infused peripherally (due to high osmolality)


Allergic reactions may include:

(1) anaphylactoid reaction

(2) flushing

(3) bronchospasm

(4) pulmonary edema


Cardiovascular effects may include:

(1) bradycardia

(2) heart block

(3) hypotension or shock

(4) cardiac arrest


Gastrointestinal side effects may include:

(1) unpleasant smell or taste

(2) nausea and vomiting

(3) diarrhea


Neurologic effects may include:

(1) headache

(2) seizures


The differential diagnosis includes:

(1) bacterial contamination of the product

(2) hemolytic reaction

(3) allergic reaction to another drug

(4) progression of underlying disease


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