The vitamin K metabolism of three patients with factitious purpura due to brodifacoum ingestion was studied. These patients, who presented with bleeding disorders due to deficiency of the vitamin K-dependent blood clotting proteins, were refractory to vitamin K1 at standard doses and required fresh frozen plasma to control bleeding until large doses of vitamin K1 were used. Metabolic studies demonstrated a blockade in vitamin K utilization, consistent with the presence of a vitamin K antagonist, but the patients denied use of anticoagulants. Warfarin assays were negative. We show that the factitious purpura in each patient was due to the surreptitious ingestion of brodifacoum, a potent second generation long-acting vitamin K antagonist used as a rodenticide. The coagulopathies responded to long-term therapy with large doses of vitamin K1. The serum elimination half-time for brodifacoum ranged from 16 to 36 days in these patients. The anticoagulant effect is of long duration, requiring chronic vitamin K treatment. With increasing availability of new rodenticides, factitious purpura due to surreptitious ingestion of these potent vitamin K antagonists is emerging as a new problem, previously associated with warfarin, with important implications for diagnosis and treatment.

This content is only available as a PDF.