Oleander poisoning

Med J Aust. 1979 Sep 8;2(5):267-9. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1979.tb127135.x.


The two common oleanders, Thevetia peruviana and Nerium oleander, contain a mixture of poisons including cardiac glycosides, and are extremely toxic. They are cultivated universally throughout Australia, and rank equally with mushrooms as the major cause of children's admission to hospital after accidental plant ingestions. A seven-year total population survey from south-east Queensland has revealed that, in practice, the rate of clinical poisoning due to oleander is inconsequential, and mortality is negligible. The annual age-specific admission rate for children (aged from birth to 12 years of age), for all plant ingestions is 2.33 per 100 000, and 0.62 per 100 000 specifically for oleander. Oleander ingestion causes a syndrome of combine cardiac and gastrointestinal symptoms and signs. A case series of 13 children is described, and the clinical features summarized. After accidental oleander ingestion, current experience indicates that the prognosis is excellent.

MeSH terms

  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Australia
  • Cardiac Complexes, Premature / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Block / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Ipecac / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Plant Poisoning / drug therapy
  • Plant Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Plants, Toxic*


  • Antidotes
  • Ipecac