4-27-2020 Is Chlorine Dioxide a Magic Potion to Treat Coronavirus?

Toxicology Question of the Week

Is Chlorine Dioxide a Magic Potion to Treat Coronavirus?

Treatments billed as miracle cures have popped up over the Internet since COVID-19 began spreading into the United States in late January of this year.

The FDA warns against purchasing or drinking Chlorine Dioxide but it's being touted for prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease.

Chlorine dioxide solution is a diluted version of sodium chlorite. When citric acid is added, the mixture becomes chlorine dioxide a powerful bleaching agent. Both sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide are the active ingredients in disinfectants and have additional industry uses. They are not meant to be ingested.

Chlorine dioxide kits are sold online under various names: Miracle Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, Master Mineral Solution, Water Purification Solution and Chlorine Dioxide Protocol. They are often referred to as MMS.

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Some distributors are making false and dangerous claims. The FDA stated it has warned consumers on past occasions not to purchase or consume chlorine dioxide. However, they continue to appear marked as a remedy for treating a range of conditions including autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and flu.

There is no research showing that these products are safe or effective for treating any illness. Using these products may cause you to delay other treatments that have been shown to be safe and effective.

The FDA has received reports of patients experiencing serious adverse events after drinking chlorine dioxide products including:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Methemoglobinemia
  • QT prolongation
  • Hypotension caused by dehydration
  • Acute liver failure
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea

If you have questions about a potential exposure to chlorine dioxide, the poison center is available 24/7 to assist you. A medical toxicologist consult is always available: 1-800-222-1222.

Prepared by Jeff Moore RN, CSPI - Certified Poison Specialist at the Tennessee Poison Center

  • webpoisonControl, chlorine dioxide/sodium chlorite monograph, 2020
  • Micromedex, Poisondex monograph, 2020
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Danger: Don’t Drink Miracle Mineral Solution or Similar Products.” August 12, 2019.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "FDA Warns Seller Marketing Dangerous Chlorine Dioxide Products that Claim to Treat or Prevent COVID-19. April 8, 2020.

I am interested in any questions you would like answered in the Question of the Week.  Please email me with any suggestion at donna.seger@vumc.org.

Donna Seger, MD

Executive Director

Tennessee Poison Center

www.tnpoisoncenter.org

Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222