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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- USES: Camphor is used as a moth repellent, cold sore ointment, muscle cooling gel, anti-itch medication, and vapor-steam formulated cough suppressant. It is also used for industrial manufacture of plastics, embalming fluids, explosives, cosmetics, and varnishes. Over-the-counter products contain less than 11% camphor. Many herbal remedies and liniments contain camphor though the percentage is not well regulated.
- PHARMACOLOGY: The pharmacologic mechanism of camphor is not clear. Topical camphor may provide some relief of pruritic conditions or cooling of sore muscles; however, safer and more pharmacologically effective medications are available.
- TOXICOLOGY: Camphor acts as a CNS stimulant; the mechanism is not clear.
- EPIDEMIOLOGY: Toxicity from over-the-counter products is uncommon and severe toxicity is rare. Exposure to nonregulated products is rare but can produce severe toxicity.
- WITH THERAPEUTIC USE
- Headache, a feeling of warmth, and mild agitation can result from therapeutic uses of camphor. Asymptomatic transaminitis has been reported.
- WITH POISONING/EXPOSURE
- MILD TO MODERATE TOXICITY: Camphor may lead to nausea and vomiting. Seizures may be the first clinical sign of severe toxicity; however, seizures are usually self-limited.
- SEVERE TOXICITY: Severe toxicity can result in delirium, visual hallucinations, cerebral edema, and status epilepticus. Systemic toxicity may include hypotension, tachycardia, respiratory failure and death.
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