An out-break of epidemic dropsy in the Barabanki District of Uttar Pradesh, India: a limited trial for the scope of antioxidants in the management of symptoms

Biomed Environ Sci. 1992 Sep;5(3):251-6.


An attempt was made to explore the scope of the bio-antioxidants in the management of symptoms of epidemic dropsy caused by argemone alkaloids, sanguinarine and dihydrosanguinarine. The study was performed on 24 randomly selected epidemic dropsy cases who consumed argemone contaminated mustard oil. On examination the cases revealed characteristic pitting edema over limbs (95.8%) accompanied by tenderness (79.2%) and diffuse erythema (95.8%). Tachycardia was present in 1/3 of the examined cases while elevated jugular venous pressure was seen in over 40% of the cases. In two of the cases, reddish-purplish blotches over lower limbs, not raised and which blanched on pressure, was an unusual feature. Chest X-ray revealed pulmonary congestion in 5 cases. ECG performed in 3 cases with severe breathlessness, showed non-specific ST-T changes most marked in L2,L3, avF and V2-V6 which reversed on recovery. Treatment with a combination of antioxidants, riboflavin and tocopherol showed improvement in pain in lower limbs (75%), edema (83.3%) and erythema (66.6%).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alkaloids / poisoning*
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Child
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Edema / drug therapy*
  • Edema / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Isoquinolines
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Oils*
  • Riboflavin / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Isoquinolines
  • Plant Oils
  • argemone oil
  • Vitamin E
  • sanguinarine
  • Riboflavin