Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS Med. 2011 May;8(5):e1000435. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000435. Epub 2011 May 10.

Low-dose adrenaline, promethazine, and hydrocortisone in the prevention of acute adverse reactions to antivenom following snakebite: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Clinical Trials Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama, Sri Lanka. asita@sltnet.lk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Envenoming from snakebites is most effectively treated by antivenom. However, the antivenom available in South Asian countries commonly causes acute allergic reactions, anaphylactic reactions being particularly serious. We investigated whether adrenaline, promethazine, and hydrocortisone prevent such reactions in secondary referral hospitals in Sri Lanka by conducting a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

In total, 1,007 patients were randomized, using a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of adrenaline (0.25 ml of a 1∶1,000 solution subcutaneously), promethazine (25 mg intravenously), and hydrocortisone (200 mg intravenously), each alone and in all possible combinations. The interventions, or matching placebo, were given immediately before infusion of antivenom. Patients were monitored for mild, moderate, or severe adverse reactions for at least 96 h. The prespecified primary end point was the effect of the interventions on the incidence of severe reactions up to and including 48 h after antivenom administration. In total, 752 (75%) patients had acute reactions to antivenom: 9% mild, 48% moderate, and 43% severe; 89% of the reactions occurred within 1 h; and 40% of all patients were given rescue medication (adrenaline, promethazine, and hydrocortisone) during the first hour. Compared with placebo, adrenaline significantly reduced severe reactions to antivenom by 43% (95% CI 25-67) at 1 h and by 38% (95% CI 26-49) up to and including 48 h after antivenom administration; hydrocortisone and promethazine did not. Adding hydrocortisone negated the benefit of adrenaline.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pretreatment with low-dose adrenaline was safe and reduced the risk of acute severe reactions to snake antivenom. This may be of particular importance in countries where adverse reactions to antivenom are common, although the need to improve the quality of available antivenom cannot be overemphasized.

PMID:
21572992
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3091849
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (2)Free text

Figure 2
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk