Hyperbaric oxygen (HPO) has been shown to reduce the mortality as well as the methemoglobinemia produced by sodium nitrite, a direct hemoglobin oxidant. In order to test the universality of HPO treatment, p-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) was chosen as a prototype drug to represent the class of indirect hemoglobin oxidants. HPO treatment of rats had no effect in reducing the toxicity of PAPP. PAPP-induced methemoglobin concentrations remained high with a corresponding elevation of PAPP blood concentrations. It has been shown that these sustained blood concentrations were due to an inability of the rat to conjugate the drug. In vitro HPO exposure had no effect on the ability of the erythrocytes to reduce methemoglobin, suggesting that the site of action of HPO on PAPP-induced methemoglobinemia is an interference with the drug conjugation mechanism. © 1973.
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