J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol.  2010 Jun;8(1):24-29.

Clinical Characteristics of Patients with Neonicotinoid Insecticide Poisoning

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Korea. ckyoungho@yahoo.co.kr


Neonicotinoid insecticides are widely used as they have been proven by experimental studies to have low toxicity to mammals, including humans. As the use of neonicotioids increases, the number of patients with neonicotinoid poisoning has also increased. We conducted a study to investigate the clinical manifestations of neonicotinid poisoning.
We retrospectively analyzed the patients who ingested neonicotinids and who visited the emergency department located in Korea from March 2002 to February 2010. We reviewed the patients' age, gender, the amount of exposure, the elapsed time to presentation, the treatment and the outcome. According to the poisoning severity score, we divided the patients with a Poisoning severity score (PSS) of 0 or 1 into the mild/moderate toxicity group and the patients with a PSS of 2 or 3 into the severe/fatal toxicity group.
A total of 24 patients were analyzed. The most common clinical manifestations of neonicotinoid insecticide toxicity were gastrointestinal symptoms (66.7%) such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain and the others are respiratory symptoms (16.7%), cardiovascular symptoms (12.5%), metabolic imbalance (12.5%), renal dysfunction (8.3%), CNS symptoms (8.3%), and asymptomatic (29.2%). Twenty patients (83.3%) showed mild/moderate toxicity and 4 patients (16.7%) showed fatal conditions such as shock and mutiorgan failure. The mortality rate was 4.2%. In these fatal cases, the patients developed respiratory failure, hypotension, altered mentality and renal failure at the acute stage and they deteriorated to a more serious condition. This severe toxicity was caused by decreased renal excretion of neonicotinid metabolite, and this was improved after hemodialysis.
Most patients with neonicotinoid poisoning and who showed mild toxicity usually improved after symptomatic treatment. However, some patients showed significant toxicity with respiratory failure and renal function deterioration, and intensive care needed, including mechanical ventilation and hemodialysis.


Neonicotinoid; Insecticide; Poisoning
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