Pralidoxime continuous infusion in the treatment of organophosphate poisoning

G. M. Tush, M. I. Anstead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To report a case of organophosphate poisoning treated with a continuous infusion of pralidoxime chloride. CASE SUMMARY: A 27-year-old white man presented with extreme agitation, muscle weakness and fasciculations, and respiratory failure after ingesting an organophosphate pesticide (Dursban, active ingredients chlorpyrifos and xylene) as a suicide attempt. Atropine sulfate and pralidoxime chloride were administered intermittently, but the patient continued to be extremely agitated and have muscle fasciculations. Subsequently, a continuous intravenous infusion of pralidoxime (8 mg/mL concentration) at 500 mg/h was initiated to help control breakthrough nicotinic symptoms. Therapy with atropine and pralidoxime was continued for approximately 72 hours. Therapy was discontinued due to the predominance of anticholinergic symptoms and the patient's increased awareness. DISCUSSION: Severe organophosphate poisoning with nicotinic and/or central manifestations should be treated with pralidoxime in addition to atropine. The rationale supporting the use of pralidoxime as a continuous infusion in this case includes: (1) slow absorption of organophosphate compounds following exposure to large quantities, (2) unknown quantity ingested, (3) delayed nicotinic effects from redistribution of lipid-soluble organophosphate and metabolic activation of phosphorothioates such as chlorpyrifos, and (4) intensive care monitoring. There is limited documentation in the literature of continuous infusions of pralidoxime used to treat organophosphate poisoning and the stability of the admixture is unknown. CONCLUSIONS: A continuous pralidoxime infusion successfully managed the prolonged nicotinic symptoms seen after ingestion of an organophosphate. A continuous infusion of pralidoxime may be particularly useful in cases of organophosphate poisoning when the extent of chemical exposure or quantity of chemical ingested is unknown but potentially toxic and the therapy must be symptomatically managed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-444
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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