Organic insecticides

Anaesth Intensive Care. 2000 Feb;28(1):11-21. doi: 10.1177/0310057X0002800102.


Organic insecticide poisoning continues to be a major health problem not only in the developing communities but also in the Western population. The insecticides commonly used are the organophosphates, organocarbamates, organochlorides and pyrethroids. Patients with organic insecticide poisoning present with a spectrum of manifestations ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea to severe neurological manifestations of fasciculations, seizures and neuromuscular weakness and paralysis or cardiac manifestations of arrhythmias and conduction disturbances. A strong clinical suspicion is necessary to make an early diagnosis of insecticide poisoning. Treatment is primarily supportive and includes decontamination, protection of airways and cardiac and respiratory monitoring. Specific therapy for organophosphates and organocarbamates includes the use of anticholinergics. The use of oximes, especially high dose, is controversial and may be associated with a higher mortality rate. Low-dose oximes given early in the course of the illness may be beneficial. This paper reviews the literature on organic insecticide poisoning worldwide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbamates / poisoning*
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / poisoning*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds*
  • Oximes / therapeutic use
  • Poisoning / drug therapy
  • Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Poisoning / therapy
  • Pyrethrins / poisoning*


  • Carbamates
  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Insecticides
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Oximes
  • Pyrethrins