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The World in Medicine
October 13, 1999

Scorpion Antidote Is Ineffective

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JAMA. 1999;282(14):1322. doi:10.1001/jama.282.14.1322-JWM90008-4-1

Researchers in Tunisia have some bad news for the nearly 40,000 people stung by scorpions in their country each year: scorpion antivenin is no more effective in relieving or preventing symptoms than placebo.

In a study of 825 patients who came to Tozeur Hospital's emergency department with scorpion stings, half received a placebo and half received intravenous antivenin. Some patients also received acetaminophen or hydrocortisone for symptom relief. In more than three fourths of the patients, pain at the site of the sting was the only symptom. However, symptoms, including cardiogenic shock, were life-threatening in 11 patients.

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