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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- Strychnine is a CNS stimulant which can cause tonic convulsions. It causes violent epileptiform seizures, and which can result in death from interference with respiration.
- Strychnine is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, and can cause generalized convulsions within 15 to 60 minutes following ingestion. It is also well absorbed intranasally, resulting in toxicity within 30 minutes. It is absorbed following parenteral administration. At the time of this review, no information was found on whether or not strychnine can be absorbed through intact skin.
- A prodromal syndrome includes muscular cramps, and stiffness, and agitation is commonly reported prior to the onset of convulsions; generalized convulsions may be the initial event. Severe lactic acidemia is associated with prolonged seizures. Rhabdomyolysis and associated myoglobinuria resulting in renal failure may ensue.
- Prognosis is good if the patient can be supported over the first 6 to 12 hours. Convulsions generally subside within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion.
- Strychnine releases toxic and irritating fumes of oxides of nitrogen and sulfur when heated to decomposition. Inhalation exposure to such fumes would be predicted to result in respiratory tract irritation with chemical pneumonitis, bronchospasm, or noncardiogenic pulmonary edema.
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