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October 1954

RHUS TOXICODENDRON: Possibility of Systemic Toxic Effects

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1954;70(4):426-436. doi:10.1001/archderm.1954.01540220028004

IN RECENT years the question has been asked: Is it possible that systemic injury such as glomerulonephritis, the nephrotic syndrome,1 periarteritis nodosa,2 toxic encephalitis,3 and even death* could be sequels of poison ivy dermatitis or of the administration of an extract of this plant. It is, therefore, expedient that we review the evidence for and against these possibilities or suspicions.

It is an accepted fact that drugs may cause the nephrotic syndrome. The newer antiepileptic medications, trimethadione6 and paramethadione7 must be added to the list of drugs causing the nephrotic syndrome.

In the American literature since 1770, there are only a few reports of systemic poisoning by the Rhus species of plants. For instance, Mr. Wilkes,8 a student of medicine from Tennessee who was curious to test the truth of the statements made by some writers on the materia medica—that Rhus toxicodendron produces

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