There are two forms of ergotism, the gangrenous and the convulsive types. The former occurs usually in the extremities and may result in the loss of fingers and toes and sometimes of an entire extremity. Gangrene of the internal organs also may occur. The convulsive type of ergotism is believed to be due to some action on the central nervous system and is manifested by depression, weakness, headaches, and finally tonic and clonic convulsions. Chronic ergotism has occurred in epidemic form in eastern Europe for centuries following the ingestion of bread made of ergot-infested rye. The last epidemic of chronic ergot poisoning from this cause in the United States occurred in New York in 1825. Acute ergotism is similar to the chronic form but of a more rapid onset and development. It occasionally follows the therapeutic use of ergot and its derivatives, especially ergotamine tartrate. The smallest amount of
Perlow S, Bloch L. IMPENDING GANGRENE OF THE FEET DUE TO ERGOTAMINE TARTRATE: REPORT OF A CASE TREATED SUCCESSFULLY. JAMA. 1937;109(1):27–28. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780270003009a
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