Potential Toxic Effects of Different High Doses of Glutathione Injection: An Experimental Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology Department. Faculty of Medicine, Minia University, Minia, Egypt.

2 Department of pathology. Faculty of Medicine, Minia University, Minia, Egypt.


Background: Glutathione injections for skin whitening have been widely used recently in
capricious dosing regimens with no scientific evidence. The overall safety data on injectable
glutathione are scarce. Objective: This study aims to investigate the potential toxic doses of
injected glutathione, the possibility of inducing different organ dysfunction, and the recovery
pattern if it occurs. Methods: Glutathione was injected intramuscularly into rats in two different
high doses, 124mg/kg and 248mg/kg (G II& III), twice per week for 13 weeks with the control
group (G I) in which rats did not receive the drug. Rats were sacrificed 1 hour, 1 week and 2
weeks after the last administered dose. The liver, kidneys, and heart underwent histopathological
and biochemical analysis. Results: The results revealed that at a dose of 124 mg/kg, no toxic
effect was shown on the liver, kidney, or heart. However, doubling the dose to 248mg/kg caused
a toxic impact on the liver, which recovered 2 weeks after the last dose, and the kidney, with no
recovery observed. No affection on the heart. Conclusions: Glutathione injection is proven to
have a potentially toxic effect when given at a dose of 248 mg/ kg twice / week for 13 weeks in
rats. So, the drug dose must be adjusted for its possible toxicity.