UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Fun Rodenticides

Keywords: brodifacoum, cholecalciferol, strychnine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/29/2009 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 12/7/2019)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

Rodenticides have taken many forms. The following is a list of some of the more interesting ones either due to the mechanism of toxicity or how it is lethal. All of these are also toxic to people.

1) Strychnine - Glycine Antagonist at the post-synaptic spinal cord neurons - patient or rat will have convulsion of the extremeties but will be awake, alert and in extreme pain. Essentially look like generalized seizure except awake. Treatment: Benzodiazepines, Analgesia, Supportive

2) Brodifacoum - Long Acting Coumarin - rat eats, later develops elevated INR then tries to run through thin cracks in the wall or takes a little too high of a jump, then boom - subdural or some other internal hemorrhage. In human, they can stay anticoagulated for weeks after an overdose. Treatment: Vitamin K and large padded room

3) Cholecalciferol - Vitamin D precursor - there are big blocks of this drug in the NY and other subway systems. Rat nibbles, gets hypercalcemic, then gets thirsty because of this. Rat runs out into middle of subway to drink out of puddle then - splatt - the M train to Brooklyn comes along. Treatment: IVF, Loop Diuretics, Bisphosphonates