The question is, how do you know if someone is suffering
from strychnine poisoning? Key symptoms occur after 15-
30 minutes, the critical time, as said in the effects section.
The ten main symptoms of strychnine poisoning:
- Initial symptoms are tightness and twitching of the muscles,
agitation and hyperreflexia.
- Stiffness of the body.
- Frothing of the mouth.
- Cessation of respiration.
- Tetanus like attacks appear every 10 ? 15 minutes. During
these attacks the eye balls protrude and the pupils enlarge.
- Severe cyanosis, which disappears after the attack subsides.
- The attacks (each lasting about 3 ? 4 minutes) appear to be
spontaneous while other times they are the result of external
stimuli i.e. noises, slight movements or flashes of light. The
patient never loses consciousness.
- When the poisoning is left untreated each attack lasts longer
than the previous and the interval between them grows shorter.
- Up to 10 attacks occur before death or recovery. This could
happen from 10 minutes to 3 hours and is a result of asphyxiat-
ion or inner tissue paralysis.
If caught in time, strychnine poisoning can be treated with
barbiturate sedatives and muscle relaxants, by avoiding unne-
cessary sensory stimulation, and, if necessary, with artificial
The poison is metabolised in the liver and has a half-life of about
10 hours in humans. Therefore within a few days it will be more
or less eliminated and treatment can be withdrawn.