Belladonna Alkaloid Intoxication: The 10-Year Experience of a Large Tertiary Care Pediatric Hospital

Miguel Glatstein, Fatoumah Alabdulrazzaq, Dennis Scolnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The belladonna alkaloids can be isolated from a number of plants, which contain hallucinogens that represent a serious danger to infants, children, and adolescents. Roots, leaves, and fruits of the plant contain the alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which can lead to an anticholinergic toxidrome; however, not all characteristics of the toxidrome are necessarily present in each case of poisoning. A retrospective chart review of all children seen following anticholinergic ingestions, between April 2001 and November 2010, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Ten children, with a mean age of 15.5 years (range, 15-18 years), were identified; 5 had used jimsonweed and the others had a variety of tablets containing atropine. All 10 presented with severe anticholinergic symptoms and 2 with suicide attempts. Treatments included charcoal, benzodiazepines, haloperidol, and physostigmine, and 2 patients were intubated. Ingestion and subsequent severe anticholinergic toxidrome occurred exclusively in adolescents. It is important to educate this age group regarding the toxicity and potential risks associated with the recreational use of these plants and substances. Physostigmine can help in both the diagnosis and management of patients intoxicated with these substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e74-e77
JournalAmerican Journal of Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • anticholinergic toxidrome
  • Atropa belladonna
  • belladonna alkaloids
  • physostigmine


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