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April 30, 1938

STRYCHNINE POISONING SUCCESSFULLY TREATED WITH SODIUM AMYTALREPORT OF TWO CASES

Author Affiliations

Worthington, Minn.

JAMA. 1938;110(18):1440. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.62790180004009d
Abstract

Strychnine poisoning is a common cause of suicidal and accidental death. It appeals to one contemplating suicide because of its cheapness, accessibility and small lethal dosage. Sugar coated strychnine tablets intended for adult medication tempt children. About one third of the accidental deaths from 1926 to 1928 in children under 5 years of age insured by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company were caused by strychnine.1

Many antidotes for strychnine poisoning have been suggested. One group of authors list twenty-six.2 These include inhalation anesthetics, stimulants, vasodilators, sedatives and even bleeding. Emetics have also been used.3 Not one of these methods is specific, many are ineffective and few can be accurately controlled.

In 1929 Zerfas and McCallum4 reported three cases of strychnine poisoning in human beings successfully treated with barbiturates. Lundy5 commented on the successful use of barbiturates in strychnine poisoning in 1931. I have found more

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