Prompt and appropriate management measures are critical in order to achieve a favorable outcome after a major overdose of intrathecally (IT) administered methotrexate (MTX). Published information available to guide clinicians in the immediate management of this medical emergency is scant. Herein we describe a 6-year-old boy with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who received an inadvertent overdose of 600 mg of IT administered MTX instead of the intended dose of 12 mg. Severe acute neurotoxicity developed rapidly. Lumbar puncture and drainage of 15 mL of cerebrospinal fluid 2 hours after administration resulted in removal of 32% of the administered drug. Ventriculolumbar perfusion with 240 mL of warmed isotonic saline through ventricular and lumbar catheters for 3 hours resulted in removal of a total of 90% of the drug within 8 1/2 hours after administration. IT administration of 2,000 U of carboxypeptidase G2 (CPDG2), an enzyme that inactivates MTX, resulted in a further 150-fold reduction in cerebrospinal fluid MTX concentration. The patient experienced complete recovery. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of the use of IT instillation of CPDG2 for the treatment of an overdose of IT administered MTX in a human, and it is only the second reported favorable outcome after an IT overdose of more than 500 mg of MTX. Minor IT overdoses of MTX can be managed by immediate lumbar drainage alone. Major overdoses may also necessitate prompt ventriculolumbar perfusion, IT instillation of CPDG2, and further supportive measures for a successful outcome after this infrequent but potentially catastrophic event.
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