Health and Medicine Question #1987

Frieda Trowbridge, a 61 year old female from Central Butte, Sask asks on March 13, 2004,

Could you tell me the symptoms when given either thalium or strychnine?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on March 13, 2004

A quick google search for strychnine info led to the Centre for Drug Control fact sheet which talks about muscle spasms. Similar information for thallium was found at

Signs and symptoms of acute thallium poisoning are referrable mainly to the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. After large doses, gastroenteritis is evident in about 12-14 hours while neurological symptoms may be delayed two to five days. Gastrointestinal manifestations include severe paroxysmal abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia, stomatitis, salivation and weight loss. Neurological manifestations during the first days of illness may include paresthesias, headache, cranial nerve damage, convulsions, delirium and coma. In chronic poisoning symptoms can be non-specific except for loss of hair which occurs, and which is very specific for thallium intoxication.

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