Severe intoxication with the veterinary tranquilizer xylazine in humans

Author(s): Hoffmann U, Meister CM, Golle K, Zschiesche M


Xylazine (Rompun, Proxylaz) is a veterinary tranquilizing agent. A case of self-injection of 1.5 g xylazine by a 27-year-old farmer is reported. He subsequently became comatose, hypotensive, bradycardic, and mildly glycemic. An intensive supportive therapy including intubation and ventilation was required. The patient made a full recovery over the next 30 h. The largest concentrations measured were 4.6 mg/L in plasma, 446 mg/L in gastric fluid, and 194 mg/L in urine. The calculated plasma half-life was 4.9 h. Kinetic data correlated with clinical symptoms. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of xylazine were done by thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and high-performance liquid chromatography. These methods allow the detection of small amounts substance in stomach, plasma, and urine. Liquid-liquid extraction was used for the isolation of drug. The sensitvity is high, and with these methods, a rapid analysis is possible. Xylazine intoxications in humans are rare. We describe the management of acute poisoning and present a review of xylazine toxicity in humans.

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