Non-suicidal intentional ingestion of iron tablets and severe intoxication: the result of adolescent boy’s impulsive risky behaviour in the school

Krutika Rahul Tandon, Rahul Tandon, Amola Khandwala, Tanvi Mehta


Acute iron poisoning is a potentially fatal intoxication in children. As the Iron preparations are commonly administered to pregnant women, lactating mothers, toddlers, it is easily available at home. So younger children are prone to consume it accidently. Although iron is a therapeutic drug in recommended dosages, excessive iron in the free state can produce toxicity by affecting multiple cellular processes by catalysing redox reactions with lipid peroxidation and free radical formation. The severity of intoxication depends on the amount of elemental iron ingested. Serious toxicity is usually associated with a dose of >40 mg/kg of elemental iron. Levels more than 100 mg/kg are almost always fatal. We report a case where a 12-year male child intentionally taken 60 tablets of iron (ferrous fumarate) at his school as a part of competition or bet to other schoolmate and presented with acute iron poisoning with hepatic encephalopathy to us. Important initial laboratory parameters were AST-4,879 U/L, Prothrombin time-60 sec and Iron level-213 microgram/dl. With timely specific management i.e., deferoxamine infusion along with all required intensive care supportive management in PICU the patient was discharged successfully. We chose to report this case to highlight the risky behaviour of adolescence who usually grows physically and emotionally earlier but their prefrontal lobes are yet immature to take proper and correct decision. Thus, impulse activity may prove fatal for them.


Lipid peroxidation, Deferoxamine, Iron intoxication, Hepatotoxicity

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