Logo of brjindmedLink to Publisher's site
Br J Ind Med. Jun 1985; 42(6): 363–372.
PMCID: PMC1007493

Synthetic pyrethroid insecticides: a dermatological evaluation.


Synthetic pyrethroids are lipophilic insecticides whose biological activity seems to be directly related to their chemical structure. In this investigation differences in cutaneous sensation were detected by human participants between synthetic pyrethroids with a cyano group in the (S)-configuration of the 3-phenoxybenzyl alcohol of their molecular structure (fenvalerate) and those that do not (permethrin). A strong relation was noted between insecticidal potency and degree of induced cutaneous sensation for the alpha-cyano and non-cyano pyrethroids, with a prominent difference between the two. No sensation was observed by any of the same participants on topical exposure to the inert ingredients of these agents. A linear correlation between concentration and degree of induced dysaethesia was observed for both pyrethroids. Regressing the cutaneous sensation on the common logarithm of concentration resulted in a regression equation of Y = 84.0 + 31.0X1 for fenvalerate and Y = 27.5 + 15.8X1 for permethrin. A highly efficacious therapeutic agent for pyrethroid exposure was noted to be dl-alpha tocopherol acetate. An impressive degree of inhibition of paraesthesia resulted from the topical application of vitamin E acetate, with a therapeutic index of almost 100%.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.4M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Vijverberg HP, van den Bercken J. Frequency-dependent effects of the pyrethroid insecticide decamethrin in frog myelinated nerve fibres. Eur J Pharmacol. 1979 Oct 15;58(4):501–504. [PubMed]
  • Harris GG, Milne DC. Input-output characteristics of the lateral-line sense organs of Xenopus laevis. J Acoust Soc Am. 1966 Jul;40(1):32–42. [PubMed]
  • Haustein KO. Comparison of therapeutic and toxic actions of ouabain, gitoxin and 16-epi-gitoxin on isolated atria at different extracellular potassium concentrations. Eur J Pharmacol. 1973 Feb;21(2):195–202. [PubMed]
  • Miyamoto J. Degradation, metabolism and toxicity of synthetic pyrethroids. Environ Health Perspect. 1976 Apr;14:15–28. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Casida JE. Pyrethrum flowers and pyrethroid insecticides. Environ Health Perspect. 1980 Feb;34:189–202. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kolmodin-Hedman B, Swensson A, Akerblom M. Occupational exposure to some synthetic pyrethroids (permethrin and fenvalerate). Arch Toxicol. 1982 May;50(1):27–33. [PubMed]
  • Le Quesne PM, Maxwell IC, Butterworth ST. Transient facial sensory symptoms following exposure to synthetic pyrethroids: a clinical and electrophysiological assessment. Neurotoxicology. 1981 Jan;2(1):1–11. [PubMed]
  • Tucker SB, Flannigan SA. Cutaneous effects from occupational exposure to fenvalerate. Arch Toxicol. 1983 Nov;54(3):195–202. [PubMed]
  • Knox JM, 2nd, Tucker SB, Flannigan SA. Paresthesia from cutaneous exposure to a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide. Arch Dermatol. 1984 Jun;120(6):744–746. [PubMed]
  • Vijverberg HP, van den Bercken J. Annotation. Action of pyrethroid insecticides on the vertebrate nervous system. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 1982 Nov-Dec;8(6):421–440. [PubMed]
  • Vijverberg HP, van der Zalm JM, van Kleef RG, van den Bercken J. Temperature- and structure-dependent interaction of pyrethroids with the sodium channels in frog node of Ranvier. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1983 Feb 9;728(1):73–82. [PubMed]
  • Beeman RW. Recent advances in mode of action of insecticides. Annu Rev Entomol. 1982;27:253–281. [PubMed]
  • DE DUVE C, WATTIAUX R, WIBO M. Effects of fat-soluble compounds on lysosomes in vitro. Biochem Pharmacol. 1962 Aug;9:97–116. [PubMed]
  • Ehrlich HP, Tarver H, Hunt TK. Inhibitory effects of vitamin E on collagen synthesis and wound repair. Ann Surg. 1972 Feb;175(2):235–240. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kamimura M, Matsuzawa T. Percutaneous absorption of alpha-tocopheryl acetate. J Vitaminol (Kyoto) 1968 Jun 10;14(2):150–159. [PubMed]

Articles from British Journal of Industrial Medicine are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...