Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The venom of the scorpion Ewing has been responsible for more than twice as many deaths in Arizona than the venoms of all other venomous animals combined. Clinical experience indicated that patients stung by this scorpion and given meperidine hydrochloride (Demerol®) consistently experienced a more serious reaction from this venom. The hypothesis that synergism existed between this scorpion venom and Demerol, morphine sulphate, dihydromorphinone hydrochloride (Dilaudid®), codeine phosphate, N-allyl-normorphine hydrochloride (Nalline®) and 1-3-hydroxy-N-allyl-morphinan tartrate (Lorfan®), was tested. Albino rats of the Holtzman/Sprague Dawley strain were used as assay animals and the Thompson-Weil technique was used for obtaining the LD.

The assays confirmed the clinical observations that these substances act synergistically with the venom. Morphine sulphate, in doses of 50 mg/kg, and Dilaudid, at 20 mg/kg, increased the toxicity 7.14 times, while Demerol, in a dose of 50 mg/kg, produced an increase of 3.57. To the extent employed, the increase was in direct proportion to the size of the dose. It was concluded that the use of these narcotics as therapeutic agents during the height of venenation by this scorpion would be unwise.


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