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Two men aged 19 and 21 years ingested 1 g and 4 g respectively from 3 kg of a white crystalline powder that they thought was a substance of abuse. It was later identified as almost pure arsenic trioxide. Both had nausea and vomiting and one developed acute renal failure. Each was treated with 2,3-dimercaptopropanesulphonate (DMPS), and made a full recovery with no evidence of prolonged renal or neurological impairment. The DMPS-arsenic complex is probably associated with lower penetration into the CNS and as a consequence treatment with DMPS may result in lower acute and chronic neurotoxicity than treatment with the currently standard recommended chelating agent dimercaprol (British Anti-Lewisite; BAL).

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Publication Date





1133 - 1135


Acute Disease, Adult, Arsenic Poisoning, Humans, Male, Peripheral Nervous System Diseases, Unithiol