Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) intoxication: an analysis of 49 children

Author(s): Caksen H, Odabas D, Akbayram S, Cesur Y, Arslan S, et al.


Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) intoxication has been infrequently reported in both children and adults in the literature. In this article, the clinical and laboratory findings of 49 children with acute deadly nightshade intoxication are reviewed. Our purpose was to enlighten the findings of deadly nightshade intoxication in childhood. The most common observed symptoms and signs were meaningless speech, tachycardia, mydriasis, and flushing. None of the children required mechanical ventilation or died in our series. The patients were categorized into two groups, mild/moderate and severe intoxication. Children with and without encephalopathy were accepted as severe and mild/moderate intoxication, respectively. While 43 children were placed in the group of mild/moderate intoxication, six were in severe intoxication group. We found that meaningless speech, lethargy, and coma were more common, but tachycardia was less common in the severe intoxication group (children with encephalopathy) (P < 0.05). In the treatment, neostigmine was used in all children because of no available physostigmine in our country. In conclusion, our findings showed that the initial signs and symptoms of acute deadly nightshade intoxication might be severe in some children, but no permanent sequel and death were seen in children. We also showed that meaningless speech, lethargy, coma, and absence of tachycardia were ominous signs in deadly nightshade intoxication in childhood. Lastly, we suggest that neostigmine may be used in cases of deadly nightshade intoxication if physostigmine cannot be available.

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