strychnine

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strychnine

(strĭk`nĭn), bitter alkaloid drug derived from the seeds of a tree, Strychnos nux-vomica, native to Sri Lanka, Australia, and India. It has been used as a rat poison for five centuries, and rat biscuits still remain a cause of accidental poisoning in humans. Strychnine is a potent stimulant of the spinal cord; it also increases the secretion of gastric juices and heightens sensory awareness. Strychnine poisoning is characterized by violent convulsions. It is treated by keeping the victim absolutely quiet and administering barbiturate sedatives and artificial respiration. See first aidfirst aid,
immediate and temporary treatment of a victim of sudden illness or injury while awaiting the arrival of medical aid. Proper early measures may be instrumental in saving life and ensuring a better and more rapid recovery.
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Strychnine

 

an alkaloid contained in the seeds of the strychnine tree (Strychnos nux-vomica) and in the seeds of other plants of the genus Strychnos growing mainly in tropical Asia and Africa. Strychnine was discovered in 1818 by the French chemists P. J. Pelletier and J. B. Caventou, and its structure was established in 1946 by R. Robinson. In 1954, R. B. Woodward and his colleagues achieved a complete synthesis of strychnine (approximately 30 steps). In its chemical structure strychnine is a complex polycyclic compound with the formula C21H22O2N2; it is a strong monoacid base difficultly soluble in water and readily soluble in alcohol and chloroform.

Strychnine is highly poisonous and is used for the extermination of animal pests. Strychnine nitrate and galenicals obtained from the seeds of Strychnos plants are used in medicine. In therapeutic doses, strychnine stimulates the reflex functions of the spinal cord and increases the excitability of the oblongatal (respiratory, vasomotor centers; center of vagus nerves) and higher centers of the brain. In toxic doses, strychnine causes characteristic tetanic convulsions (opisthotonus, risus sardonicus). The effect of strychnine derives from the ability to facilitate the transmission of excitation in the interneuronal synapses of the spinal cord, primarily in the region of the internuncial neurons, which act as inhibitory cells. The effect is also due to strychnine’s ability to reduce the reflex reaction time in nerve centers and intensify the dissemination of excitation in the spinal cord.

V. V. PARIN

strychnine

[′strik‚nīn]
(organic chemistry)
C21H22O2N2 An alkaloid obtained primarily from the plant nux vomica, formerly used for therapeutic stimulation of the central nervous system.

strychnine

a white crystalline very poisonous alkaloid, obtained from the plant nux vomica: formerly used in small quantities as a stimulant of the central nervous system and the appetite. Formula: C21H22O2N2
References in periodicals archive ?
Tune (1971), Strychnine poisoning successfully treated with diazepam.
And she agreed with Mr Stephen Byrne, lawyer for the Irish Prison Service, even the most experienced doctor would have difficulty identifying strychnine poisoning.
Medical experts said strychnine poisoning is characterized by violent convulsions.
Because the disease portends significant morbidity and mortality, it must be rapidly recognized and differentiated from illnesses with a similar presentation, such as hypocalcemic tetany, meningitis, rabies, drug withdrawal, strychnine poisoning, and dystonic drug reaction.
Vets are awaiting the results of toxicology tests but they fear strychnine poisoning is a distinct possibility.
Detective Garda Michael Smith said the first indication gardai had that strychnine poisoning was an issue was when State Pathologist Marie Cassidy pronounced it as the cause of death.
A vet confirmed both later died from strychnine poisoning.