Hydrazine is a chemical compound. It is a colorless liquid with an ammonia-like odor. Hydrazine is converted to solid salts by treatment with mineral acids. A common salt is hydrazine sulfate, which is marketed as having the potential to reduce weight loss and cachexia (physical wasting with loss of weight and muscle mass caused by disease) associated with cancer, and to improve general appetite status However, based on studies in humans, hydrazine sulfate has not been proven effective for improving appetite, reducing weight loss, or improving survival in adults with small cell lung cancer (when used as adjuvant therapy) or metastatic colorectal cancer (when used alone).
Hydrazine sulfate causes liver damage in rodents. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have determined that hydrazine sulfate may have cancer-causing effects.
Other applications of hydrazine include: corrosion inhibitor, herbicide and pesticide component, laboratory reagent, refining rare metals, soldering flux for light metals, silvering of mirrors, and rocket fuel.
2,4-dinitro-phenylhydrazine, alpha-methyldopa-hydrazine, beta-phenylisopropylhydrazine, carbidopa, diamide, diamine, dimethylhydrazine, hydrazine, hydrazine monosulphate, hydrazine sulphate, hydrazinium sulphate, hydrazonium sulphate, idrazina solfato (Italian), Sehydrin®.
Note: Hydrazine (N2H4), a precursor component of hydrazine sulfate and widely used industrial compound is generally not considered as within the purview of this monograph.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
The results of multiple clinical studies for the use of hydrazine sulfate in cancer-related cachexia are conflicting. The use of hydrazine sulfate cannot be fully recommended due to the lack well-designed studies and potential risks. More established therapies are recommended at this time.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored studies of hydrazine sulfate that claimed efficacy in improving survival for some patients with advanced cancer. Trial results found that hydrazine sulfate did not prolong survival for cancer patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received requests from individual physicians for approval to use hydrazine sulfate on a case-by-case "compassionate use" basis on the chance that patients with no other available effective therapy might benefit. The overall controversy in the use of hydrazine sulfate is ongoing, and relevance to clinical practice is unknown. The use of hydrazine sulfate needs to be evaluated further before any recommendations can be made. Side effects have been reported.