Cyanide poisoning

Clin Toxicol. 1981 Mar;18(3):367-83. doi: 10.3109/15563658108990043.


In recent years, the increasing use of laetrile has been added to the traditional sources of exposure to cyanide in industry, chemistry labs, and fumigation. The events in Jonestown in 1978 were a grim reminder of the lethality of cyanide. Nonetheless, advancement in new modes of treatment has been slow. The traditional method of treatment used in the United States is effective, but not without its own morbidity and mortality. Using two case reports as models, we review here the topic of cyanide poisoning including sources of exposure, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations of both acute and chronic exposure, and modes of treatment. Although there is currently no accepted alternate treatment in this country, review of the literature shows promise in other modalities being investigated in Europe, including hydroxocobalamin, cobalt salts, and particularly aminophenols.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amblyopia / chemically induced
  • Amygdalin / poisoning
  • Cyanides / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking


  • Cyanides
  • Amygdalin