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J Med Toxicol. 2008 Dec;4(4):225-31.

American association of poison control centers database characterization of human tilmicosin exposures, 2001-2005.

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University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska Regional Poison Center, Omaha, NE, USA.



Tilmicosin is a veterinary antibiotic with significant human toxicity at doses commonly used in animals, but the parenteral dose-response relationship has not been well characterized.


Human exposures to tilmicosin in the database of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) from 2001 to 2005 were analyzed for demographic associations, exposure dose, clinical effects and outcomes.


Over the 5-year period, there were 1,291 single-substance human exposures to tilmicosin. The mean age was 39.1 years, and 80% were male. By route there were 768 (54%) parenteral exposures. Patients with parenteral exposures had a significantly increased likelihood of being seen at a healthcare facility, admission, and admission to an ICU. With nonparenteral exposure, most had no clinical effects or minor effects, and there were no major effects or deaths. With parenteral exposure, moderate effects occurred in 46 (6%), major effects in 2 (0.3%) and there were 4 (0.5%) deaths, two of which were suicides. A dose-response relationship could be demonstrated. Clinical effect durations of up to a week occurred at even the lowest dose range.


Over 250 cases of human tilmicosin exposure are reported to poison centers per year and over 150 of those are parenteral. Most exposures produce no or minor effects, but fatalities have occurred with parenteral exposure. The case fatality rate in parenteral exposures is 10 times the case fatality rate for all human exposures in the AAPCC database. Significant adverse and prolonged effects are reported at parenteral doses > 0.5 mL, suggesting that all parenteral exposures should be referred for healthcare facility evaluation.

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