Cuticle remover

Poisoning from an overdose of cuticle remover (alkali).

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • potassium hydroxide

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Where Found 

  • various cuticle removers


  • body as a whole       o severe pain in the mouth       o collapse  
  • respiratory       o inability to breath because the throat swell shut  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat:       o severe pain in the throat  
  • gastrointestinal       o severe Abdominal pain       o diarrhea  
  • heart and blood vessels       o rapid drop in blood pressure

Home Treatment 
If the remover is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes. If it has been swallowed, drink water or milk IMMEDIATELY.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
for swallowed poison:

  • Give fluids.  
  • Give an antidote.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

for inhalation:

  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 

The prognosis (probable outcome) depends on how rapidly the alkali was diluted and neutralized. Extensive damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach are possible but not likely due to the dilute concentrations. The ultimate outcome depends on the extent of this damage.

Damage continues to occur to the esophagus and stomach for several weeks after the alkali was swallowed. Death may occur up to a month later.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Simon D. Mitin, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.