Chapter 16 – Strychnine

Author: Patocka, J.

Description: Strychnine is a highly poisonous plant alkaloid of indole type found in the genus Strychnos. It is a basic compound which has a bitter taste. It acts as a blocker or antagonist at the strychnine-sensitive glycine receptor, a ligand-gated chloride channel in the spinal cord and brain. Symptomatology of human intoxication begins 15–30min after ingestion of strychnine. Initial symptoms are tightness and twitching of the muscles, agitation and hyperreflexia, stiffness of the body, lockjaw, frothing of the mouth, and cessation of respiration. Tetanus-like attacks appear every 10–15min. The probable lethal oral dose is 1.5–2mg/kg for a 70-kg human. There is no specific antidote for strychnine, but recovery from strychnine exposure is possible with early hospital treatment.

Subject headings: Strychnine; Alkaloid; Intoxication; Symptomatology; Diagnosis; Treatment; Risk assessment

Publication year: 2020

Book title: Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents (Third Edition)

Pages: 239-247

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Type: Book chapter

Serial number: 3107

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