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Fatal colchicine intoxication by ingestion of Gloriosa superba tubers


Gloriosa superba is an ornamental herb, wildly found in the tropics especially in the southern parts of India and Sri Lanka. All parts of the plants are toxic, especially the tuberous rhizomes in view of their high content of colchicines and its derivatives. We report a case of fatal ingestion of the tubers of G. superba, with an intention of deliberate self harm, leading to systemic coagulopathy and progressive multiple organ dysfunctions. The patient was managed with intralipid rescue therapy, plasmapheresis, haemodialysis and intensive care. The ease of availability makes plant poisons, a common method of deliberate self-harm in South India. This report reiterates the need for clinician’s awareness of common toxidromes associated with plant poisons.

  • poisoning
  • toxicology
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