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April 2, 1932


Author Affiliations


From the Laboratory of Applied Physiology, Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University.

JAMA. 1932;98(14):1133-1136. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730400011002

Recently Aikman1 has called attention to the importance of strychnine as a cause of fatal poisoning in children. He adds three cases to the long list of fatalities already attributed to this alkaloid. Statistical studies2 on the subject indicate further that strychnine is the commonest cause of poisoning among children. In most instances the strychnine is obtained from sugar-coated cathartic or tonic pills purchased by adults for their own use but carelessly left within the reach of children. This source of poisoning can eventually be eliminated by legislation against the dispensing of strychnine in this form. Time will be required, however, to bring about this change, and in the meantime accidental fatalities will continue. There will always be the occasional cases of accidental or intentional poisoning among adults.

The methods of treatment for strychnine poisoning now in use are apparently not very effective. They consist of emetics or

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