Strychnine: what it is, symptoms of strychnine poisoning

Causes and symptoms of strychnine poisoning

Strychnine is organic compound, an alkaloid of plant origin. It contains the seeds of chilibuhi (deciduous tree that grows in the tropical climate zone). The people seeds are called «emetic nut». They are very toxic. In the pharmaceutical industry alkaloid used in the composition of medicines. Failure to comply with the prescribed doses is strychnine poisoning.

The action of strychnine on the body, the use of the drug

For therapeutic purposes, a substance used in the form of nitrate – nitrate salt. In appearance it is a white powder with a bitter taste.

Strychnine stimulates the Central nervous system. It affects glycine receptors in CNS and prevents the transmission of impulse. The alkaloid affects neurons and conducts the excitation impulse. So there is an imbalance in the processes of excitation and inhibition.

The effect of strychnine on the body:

  • stimulation of the senses: hearing, sight, smell;
  • the tone of the muscle tissue of the internal organs and skeletal muscles;
  • effect on medulla – stimulation of the respiratory, cardiovascular and motor center;
  • increased libido in men;
  • stimulates the reflexes of the digestive tract – increased production of gastric juice, improving the appetite and all the digestive processes.

Strychnine is produced in the form of tablets and tinctures for oral use (inside), and in vials for injection subcutaneously.

The main indications for use – chronic fatigue syndrome, complete and partial paralysis, low blood pressure, chronic alcoholic intoxication. Men strychnine prescribed for functional disorders in the sexual sphere. The drug speeds up the metabolic processes in the body. It is also prescribed for atony of the hollow organs of the digestive system – stomach, small intestine and large intestine.

Overdose as a cause of strychnine poisoning

Strychnine medically prescribed is extremely rare. It is not commercially available, the drug is released only on prescription of doctors. This caution stems from the fact that this medicine is a dangerous poison, an overdose of which can lead to death.

Instructions for use of strychnine warns that the maximum allowable daily dose should not exceed 5 mg orally or 2 mg intramuscularly. A slight increase in the dosage endangers life.

In the description of the alkaloid is a information that strychnine is refers to extremely dangerous toxic substances. It can not be used for a long time, as the drug tends to accumulate in the body and cause chronic poisoning. Strychnine prescribe short courses with breaks. Categorically it is impossible to prescribe a medicine to infants, the nervous system which is still in the process of formation. Use in pregnant women the drug causes birth defects of the fetus, can cause miscarriage in early pregnancy or premature birth in the later, in high doses, causes death of the unborn child.

In some cases, strychnine is contraindicated:

  • hypertension;
  • severe cardiovascular disease – angina, myocardial infarction;
  • loss of elasticity of blood vessels, narrowing their lumen blockage – atherosclerosis;
  • bronchial asthma;
  • structural and functional lesions of the kidneys and liver;
  • disorders of the thyroid gland – Graves ‘ disease, thyrotoxicosis;
  • epilepsy.

Symptoms of poisoning by drug

Strychnine poisoning causes side effects from the Central nervous system. The development of the clinical picture depends on the adopted dosage.

When the poisoning is mild and moderate severity in humans are observed headaches, a migraine develops. Disturbed breathing process, it becomes frequent and superficial.

Symptoms of poisoning develop gradually. The first signs from the nervous system increased sensitivity to external stimuli (sound, light, smell). Then the senses are dulled, and receptor sensitivity is reduced. Patient numbs the skin on the neck, the face, the stiffness gradually extends to the nape of the neck and back. On the background of such symptoms of a person developing a mental disorder: feelings of fear, panic.

In case of severe strychnine poisoning the victim there was a sharp twitching. The attacks last about two minutes. The signs of the beginning of seizures:

  • poor pupil response to light, bulging eyeballs (directly or offset to the side);
  • disruptions in breathing, until the stop (apnea);
  • pale skin with a blue tint due to hypoxia (oxygen starvation of tissues);
  • the victim instinctively takes a characteristic spastic posture, head thrown back, back arched in an arc, the support falls on the heels and shoulders, his face frozen smile;
  • involuntary urination.

Between attacks the skeletal muscles relax. Repeated seizures can be repeated after 20-30 minutes. Each subsequent attack more powerful.

If a severe strychnine poisoning, and resuscitation are not carried out, the victim develops tetanic spasms – involuntary contraction of individual muscle groups, which is characterized by severe pain. Their duration varies from several minutes to several hours. Cramps often affect the upper torso, hands, face. Inside involuntary contractions occur in the diaphragm, the stomach, the larynx.

The adverse symptoms of seizures:

  • vomiting, diarrhea;
  • the intoxication of the whole organism;
  • spasmodic contraction of the myocardium (heart muscle);
  • spasm of the larynx, bronchi, and urinary bladder.

A lethal dose for an adult is 1 mg per 1 kg of weight. Without medical assistance a person dies within half an hour from respiratory failure as a result of laryngospasm and bronchospasm, paralysis of the respiratory center.

First aid for strychnine poisoning

The poison strychnine when injected into the body immediately absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, specific measures to provide first aid to the victim not. Gastric lavage is not effective, even dangerous. The procedure can provoke or exacerbate seizures. A specific antidote of strychnine does not exist.

In intensive care to remove the poison, take the following actions

  1. To reduce toxic substances in the digestive tract injected sorbents in the stomach and intestines (enema).
  2. To quickly display the alkaloid through the kidneys, prescribed forced diuresis. It is a method of detoxification, which provides a single administration of a large volume of intravenous fluid. The minimum number of the solution for women is 6 liters, 8 liters In some cases the amount may be increased up to 12 l with the fluid administered diuretics (diuretics).
  3. If the kidneys can not cope with the removal of the poison, and carry out procedures for the purification of blood hemosorption (purifying the blood components using sorbents on special equipment), hemodialysis (filtration of the blood through apparatus «artificial kidney»).

If the methods detoxification therapy is not effective, the victim urgently given a blood transfusion.

To reduce the risk of seizures and not to provoke their repetition, man is placed in a special isolation chamber, in conditions of limiting external stimuli. The room is equipped with noise insulation, flow rate of the light is adjustable.

For the medical prevention of seizures prescribed chemical drugs, muscle relaxants which in its effect is the opposite of strychnine – barbamyl, amobarbital, geksenal, gexobarbitala, Diprivan, propower.

When developing asphyxia (suffocation) used forced air injection into the lungs. For this patient connected to a ventilator. To maintain the function of the heart is administered cardiac glycosides – aglicon, strophanthin. To reduce the concentration of toxic substances in the blood and prevent dehydration, prescribed infusion therapy (intense saline infusion intravenously).

Strychnine is not indicated for patients without urgent need. A patient who takes the drug should be under constant supervision of a doctor. To avoid possible strychnine poisoning, you need to strictly adhere to prescribed treatment regimens. In appointing the drug it is important to remember that more sensitive to the alkaloid people with heart diseases and kidneys. The risk of death in acute poisoning in these patients is high. To avoid the accumulation of substances in the body, between the rates of admission to take breaks for 2-3 weeks.

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