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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Salicylate Toxicity from Genital Exposure to a Methylsalicylate-Containing Rubefacient

  • Author(s): Thompson, Trevonne M.
  • Toerne, Theodore
  • Erickson, Timothy B.
  • et al.

Methylsalicylate-containing rubefacients have been reported to cause salicylate poisoning after ingestion, topical application to abnormal skin, and inappropriate topical application to normal skin. Many over-the-counter products contain methylsalicylate. Topical salicylates rarely produce systemic toxicity when used appropriately; however, methylsaliclyate can be absorbed through intact skin. Scrotal skin can have up to 40-fold greater absorption compared to other dermal regions. We report a unique case of salicylate poisoning resulting from the use of a methylsalicylate-containing rubefacient to facilitate masturbation in a male teenager. Saliclyate toxicity has not previously been reported from the genital exposure to methylsaliclyate.

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