Clinical Neuroscience

A case with reversible neurotoxicity induced by metronidazole

EREN Fulya1, ALDAN Ali Mehmet1, DOGAN Burcu Vasfiye2, GUL Gunay1, SELCUK Hatem Hakan2, SOYSAL Aysun1

NOVEMBER 30, 2017

Clinical Neuroscience - 2017;70(11-12)


Background - Metronidazole is a synthetic antibiotic, which has been commonly used for protozoal and anaerobic infections. It rarely causes dose - and duration - unrelated reversible neurotoxicity. It can induce hyperintense T2/FLAIR MRI lesions in several areas of the brain. Although the clinical status is catastrophic, it is completely reversible after discontinuation of the medicine. Case report - 36-year-old female patient who had recent brain abscess history was under treatment of metronidazole for 40 days. She admitted to Emergency Department with newly onset myalgia, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and cerebellar signs. She had nystagmus in all directions of gaze, ataxia and incompetence in tandem walk. Bilateral hyperintense lesions in splenium of corpus callosum, mesencephalon and dentate nuclei were detected in T2/FLAIR MRI. Although lumbar puncture analysis was normal, her lesions were thought to be related to activation of the brain abscess and metronidazole was started to be given by intravenous way instead of oral. As lesions got bigger and clinical status got worse, metronidazole was stopped. After discontinuation of metronidazole, we detected a dramatic improvement in patient’s clinical status and MRI lesions reduced. Conclusion - Although metronidazole induced neurotoxicity is a very rare complication of the treatment, clinicians should be aware of this entity because its adverse effects are completely reversible after discontinuation of the treatment.


  1. Bakirkoy Prof. Dr. Mazhar Osman Training and Research Hospital for Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Neurology Department, Istanbul, Turkey
  2. Bakirkoy Dr. Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital, Radiology Department, Istanbul, Turkey



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