Cardiac Glycoside Plants Self-Poisoning

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Cardiac glycosides are found in a diverse group of plants including Digitalis purpurea and Digitalis lanata (foxgloves), Nerium oleander, Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley), Strophanthus gratus, etc. Nerium Oleander is an indoor and ornamental plant of an evergreen shrub. It’s widespread in countries with a Mediterranean climate. Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants known to humans. All parts of the nerium oleander are poisonous, primarily due to the contained cardiac glycosides - oleandrin, nerin, digitoxigenin, and olinerin of which oleandrin is the principal toxin. The bark contains the toxic substances of rosagenin which causes strychnine-like effects. Signs of poisoning appear a few hours after the adoption of the parts of the plant. Two cases of Nerium Oleander poisoning were presented. Clinical picture included gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and central nervous system effects. The clinical symptoms were characterized by nausea, vomiting, salivation, colic, diarrhoea, ventricular tachycardia, dysrhythmia, heart block, ataxia, drowsiness, muscular tremor. Treatment included administration of activated charcoal, symptomatic and supportive care.

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