Management of autonomic dysfunction in severe tetanus: the use of magnesium sulphate and clonidine

Intensive Care Med. 1990;16(2):75-80. doi: 10.1007/BF02575297.


The treatment of severe tetanus with autonomic dysfunction is discussed, with emphasis on the use of magnesium sulphate. An exemplary case is reported, describing the inadequate response to magnesium, but the previously unreported and successful use of clonidine to control sympathetic overactivity. The properties of clonidine are reviewed. Clonidine is felt to be a logical and appropriate drug for the treatment of autonomic dysfunction in severe tetanus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / blood
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Catecholamines / blood
  • Clonidine / administration & dosage
  • Clonidine / pharmacology
  • Clonidine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Magnesium Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Magnesium Sulfate / pharmacology
  • Magnesium Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tetanus / complications*
  • Tetanus / physiopathology


  • Catecholamines
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Clonidine