Treatment of toad venom poisoning with digoxin-specific Fab fragments

Jeffrey R. Brubacher, Padinjarekuttu R. Ravikumar, Theodore Bania, Michael B. Heller, Robert S. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Toxicity from toad venom poisoning is similar to digoxin toxicity and carries a high mortality rate. We report on six previously healthy men who developed vomiting and bradycardia after ingesting a purported topical aphrodisiac. Each patient had positive apparent digoxin levels and the first four patients died of cardiac dysrhythmias. The last two patients recovered following treatment with digoxin Fab fragments. We analyzed samples of the purported aphrodisiac and found that it was identical to Chan Su, a Chinese medication made from toad venom. To our knowledge, this is the first reported use of digoxin Fab fragments to treat toad venom poisoning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1282-1288
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • bufodienolides
  • cardenolides
  • cardiac glycosides
  • digoxin
  • digoxin Fab fragments
  • toad venom


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