Ammonia

(BAN, rINN)
Ammonia Chemical formula

💊 Chemical information

Amoníaco, solución diluida de; Amonowy wodorotlenek; Amonyak.
CAS — 7664-41-7.

Pharmacopoeias.

Strong ammonia solutions are included in Chin. (25 to 28%), Eur. (25 to 30%), and USNF (27 to 31%). Dilute ammonia solutions are included in Br., Chin., Ger., Jpn, and Swiss (all about 10%).

Ph. Eur. 6.2

(Ammonia Solution, Concentrated; Ammoniae Solutio Concentrata; Strong Ammonia Solution

BP 2008

). It contains between 25% and 30% (w/w) of ammonia, NH 3 . A clear colourless liquid. Very caustic. Miscible with water and with alcohol. Store at a temperature not exceeding 20° in airtight containers.

BP 2008

(Dilute Ammonia Solution). It is prepared by diluting Strong Ammonia Solution with freshly boiled and cooled purified water. It contains 9.5 to 10.5% w/w of NH 3 . NOTE. The BP directs that when Ammonia Solution is prescribed or demanded, Dilute Ammonia Solution shall be dispensed or supplied.

USNF 26

(Strong Ammonia Solution). It contains between 27% and 31% (w/w) of NH 3 . On exposure to air, it loses ammonia rapidly. A clear colourless liquid with an exceedingly pungent characteristic odour. Store at a temperature not exceeding 25° in airtight containers.

Handling.

Strong ammonia solutions should be handled with great care because of the caustic nature of the solutions and the irritating properties of the vapour. Cool the container well before opening and avoid inhalation of the vapour.

💊 Adverse Effects

Ingestion of strong solutions of ammonia causes severe pain in the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal tract, as well as severe local oedema and salivation, with cough, vomiting, and shock. Burns to the oesophagus and stomach may result in perforation. Stricture formation, usually in the oesophagus, can occur weeks or months later. Ingestion may also cause oedema of the respiratory tract and pneumonitis, though this may not develop for a few hours. Inhalation of ammonia vapour causes sneezing and coughing and in high concentration causes pulmonary oedema. Asphyxia has been reported after oedema or spasm of the glottis. Ammonia vapour is irritant to the eyes and causes weeping; there may be conjunctival swelling and temporary blindness. Ammonia solution in contact with skin and eyes produces blistering and vesiculation; ammonia burns feel ‘soapy’ because of saponification of the tissues. Strong solutions on the conjunctiva cause a severe reaction with conjunctival oedema, corneal damage, and acute glaucoma. Late complications include angleclosure glaucoma, opaque corneal scars, atrophy of the iris, and formation of cataracts. Ammonia burns have resulted from treating insect bites and stings with the strong solution, and even with the dilute solution, especially if a dressing is subsequently applied.
1. Beare JDL, et al. Ammonia burns of the eye: an old weapon in new hands. BMJ 1988; 296: 590
2. WHO. Ammonia health and safety guide. IPCS Health and Safety Guid
37. Geneva: WHO, 1990. Available at: http:// www.inchem.org/documents/hsg/hsg/hsg037.htm (accessed 04/04/06
3. Payne MP, Delic JI. Ammonia. In: Toxicity Revie
24. London: HMSO, 1991: 1–12
4. Payne MP, et al. Toxicology of substances in relation to major hazards: ammonia. London: HMSO, 1991
5. Leduc D, et al. Acute and long term respiratory damage following inhalation of ammonia. Thorax 1992; 47: 755–7
6. Michaels RA. Emergency planning and the acute toxic potency of inhaled ammonia. Environ Health Perspect 1999; 107: 617–27
7. Amshel CE, et al. Anhydrous ammonia burns case report and review of the literature. Burns 2000; 26: 493–7
8. Kerstein MD, et al. Acute management of exposure to liquid ammonia. Mil Med 2001; 166: 913–14.

Toxicity from mixing

cleaning agents. For reference to the adverse effects of mixing ammonia-based and hypochloritebased cleaning agents see Sodium Hypochlorite.

💊 Treatment of Adverse Effects

Ingestion of ammonia solutions should not be treated by lavage or emesis. Milk or water have been given as diluents, but small volumes should be used to reduce the risk of inducing emesis. Appropriate measures should be taken to alleviate pain, shock, and pulmonary oedema, and maintain an airway. Contaminated skin and eyes should be flooded immediately with water and the washing continued for at least 15 minutes. Any affected clothing should be removed while flooding is being carried out.

💊 Uses and Administration

Dilute solutions of ammonia have been used as reflex stimulants either as smelling salts or oral solutions. They have also been used as rubefacients and counter-irritants and to neutralise insect stings. Users should always be aware of the irritant properties of ammonia. Hartshorn and Oil was sometimes used as a name for an ammonia liniment. Household ammonia and cloudy ammonia have been used as names for cleaning preparations of ammonia with oleic acid or soap respectively. A saturated solution containing about 35% w/w and known as ‘0.880 ammonia’ has been used in many chemical and industrial applications.

Stings.

Bathers who were stung by Portuguese men-of-war (Physalia physalis) were rapidly and effectively relieved of discomfort, paresis, irritation, and other symptoms by the application of aromatic ammonia spirit compresses.1
1. Frohman IG. Treatment of physalia stings. JAMA 1966; 197: 733.

💊 Preparations

BP 2008: Aromatic Ammonia Solution; Aromatic Ammonia Spirit; Strong Ammonium Acetate Solution; White Liniment.

Proprietary Preparations

Canad.: After Bite; Israel: Afterbite; Spain: After Bite; Calmapica; Switz.: After Bite; UK: After Bite. Multi-ingredient: Austral.: Senega and Ammonia; Austria: Rowalind; Canad.: Bronchex†; SJ Liniment; Chile: Rhus Opodeldoc; Cz.: Pain Expeller†; Hung.: Opodeldok†; Ital.: Baby Zanzara; Stilomagic†; S.Afr.: Enterodyne; Spain: Masagil; UK: Blistex Relief Cream; Goddards Embrocation; Mackenzies Smelling Salts; Pickles Smelling Salts; USA: Emergent-Ez.
Published December 13, 2018.