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Novel Clinical Toxicology and Pharmacology of Organophosphorus Insecticide Self-Poisoning

Authors
  • Eddleston, Michael
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jan 06, 2019
Volume
59
Pages
341–360
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010818-021842
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Organophosphorus insecticide self-poisoning is a major global health problem, killing over 100,000 people annually. It is a complex multi-organ condition, involving the inhibition of cholinesterases, and perhaps other enzymes, and the effects of large doses of ingested solvents. Variability between organophosphorus insecticides—in lipophilicity, speed of activation, speed and potency of acetylcholinesterase inhibition, and in the chemical groups attached to the phosphorus—results in variable speed of poisoning onset, severity, clinical toxidrome, and case fatality. Current treatment is modestly effective, aiming only to reactivate acetylcholinesterase and counter the effects of excess acetylcholine at muscarinic receptors. Rapid titration of atropine during resuscitation is lifesaving and can be performed in the absence of oxygen. The role of oximes in therapy remains unclear. Novel antidotes have been tested in small trials, but the great variability in poisoning makes interpretation of such trials difficult. More effort is required to test treatments in adequately powered studies.

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