MARK H. GREENE, M.D.; TINA I. YOUNG; GEORGE S. EISENBARTH, M.D., PH.D.
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To the editor: Polyethylene glycol, a family of chemical compounds composed of linear polymers of ethylene oxide and water, is a component in many medications, including ointments, where it serves as an "inert" base, and suppositories, where it serves as a base and carrier for various "active" drugs. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), suppository preparations of drugs such as acetaminophen and oxymorphone hydrochloride currently contain polyethylene glycol, whereas drugs in at least 18 new drug applications for suppositories contained this compound.
However, Pontecervo (1) has shown potent effects of this compound on somatic cells; that is,
GREENE MH, YOUNG TI, EISENBARTH GS. Polyethylene Glycol in Suppositories: Carcinogenic?. Ann Intern Med. ;93:781. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-93-5-781_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(5):781.
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