How does methylene blue treat methemoglobinemia?

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Methylene blue is used to treat drug-induced methemoglobinemia, a condition in which the blood cannot provide oxygen where it is needed in the body. Hemoglobin in the blood transports oxygen and distributes it to organs and tissues. Methemoglobin, a type of hemoglobin that is not useful, usually occurs in the blood in small amounts. But when levels become high (methemoglobinemia), the blood does not move oxygen well. This lack of oxygen in the body may cause symptoms such as skin that is pale or blue-colored. Methemoglobinemia typically happens when a person is exposed to particular drugs or chemicals. It also may be an inherited condition. Methylene blue treats methemoglobinemia by converting methemoglobin to a more useful kind of hemoglobin that can more effectively transport oxygen through the body.

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