Categories: Health & Fitness

Man hospitalized after mistaking engine additive for his energy drink

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The information site IFL Science (Source 1) recounts an unusual news item: in the United States, a 54-year-old man had to be hospitalized urgently after ingesting an engine additive, when he thought he was drinking his energy drink usual.

The man had thus confused the bottle of his energy drink stamped “NOS Energy Drink” with some “NOS Octane Booster Racing Formula“, A engine additive made of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT). This manganese-derived product is used as an anti-knock additive for unleaded gasoline, and is intended to improve octane rating.

Obviously, this error was not without consequence, since MMT is a product highly toxic. “Manganese can cause irreversible parkinsonian symptoms due to oxidative damage in the mitochondria (factories of our cells, editor’s note) of the basal ganglia (basal ganglia, in the center of the brain, editor’s note). Much less is known about acute manganese toxicity, but no seizures or neurotoxicity have been associated with either of the two reported cases of acute manganese poisoning in humans.”, commented the team that took care of the victim.

Seized by convulsions, the man was sedated and intubated, and hospitalized for four days. Fortunately, after a day of confusion and dizziness, the man was able to return home and suffered no medical complications, doctors report. He has, however, inherited a greater distrust of drinks that resemble motor oil.

Our case highlights the importance of responsible labeling consumables. Household products are a frequent source of involuntary poisoning, mainly in children. Our case demonstrates that packaging similarities between toxic and non-toxic products or between food and non-food products can lead to confusion”, write the authors of the case report, published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine (Source 2). The case has since been reported to the US Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch vigilance program.

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