Allergy Asthma Respir Dis.  2020 Apr;8(2):89-91. 10.4168/aard.2020.8.2.89.

A case of glutathione-induced life-threatening asthma attack

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Mediplex Sejong Hospital, Incheon, Korea


Baek-ok injection (glutathione) has been widely used antioxidant therapy to whiten and has antiaging effects in Korea. Glutathione is an enzyme which synthesizes leukotriene, then it can induce asthma attack theoretically; however, there have been few case reports concerning this therapy. In this report, we described a 41-year-old woman who developed glutathione-induced life-threatening asthma attack. She has asthma history controlled by an intermittent salbutamol inhaler. She developed general weakness and dyspnea right after glutathione injection, and injection was discontinued. Dyspnea was progressively aggravated, and she lost consciousness with shock. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started, and she arrived at the Emergency Department with wheezing, hypoxia, severe respiratory acidosis, and nonmeasurable blood pressure. Intubation and mechanical ventilation were started with intramuscular epinephrine/intravenous methylprednisolone injection and repeated salbutamol/ipratropium/budesonide inhalation. After 5 hours, extubation and spontaneous breathing were successful without wheezing. Next day, pulmonary function test showed moderate an obstructive airway disease pattern, and she was discharged with inhaled fluticasone/salmeterol, oral methylprednisolone, and montelukast. We can exclude anaphylaxis, because serum tryptase obtained at the Emergency Department was 0.0 mg/dL and the absence of skin lesions and angioedema at arrival. Baek-ok injection (glutathione) should be carefully performed in asthma patients.


Glutathione; Asthma; Attack
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