Attana /Aththana(Datura ) poisoning and Treatment

Botanical nameDatura stramonium

  • Datura metel

Sinhala name – Attana

Tamil name – Adisamyai

Common English names– Jimson Weed, Locowood, Angel`s Trumpet, Thorn Apple,   Devil`s Trumpet

The toxic substance – Tropane alkaloids which contains atropine, hyoscine and hyoscamine.  Attana is a wild-growing shrub or a small tree. The leaves are large, flowers are funnel or trumpet shaped and white or yellow in colour. The fruits are rounded with thorns and has a similar appearance to Rambutan (thorn apple) and contains numerous white/grey seeds which looks like gingerly seeds. The entire plant, especially the leaves and the seeds are poisonous. The seeds approximately contains 0.1 mg of atropine per seed.

The signs and symptoms of toxicity appear within 60 minutes after the ingestion of poisoning. The fatality is rare and the signs and symptoms of poisoning may persist up to 24 to 48 hours. The toxins competitively antagonize the peripheral and central muscarinic Acetylcholine receptors leading to paralysis of the parasympathetic innervated organs.

The symptoms of poisoning are dry mouth and mucosa, flushing, mydriasis (wide pupils), sinus tachycardia, hyperpyrexia ( increased body temperature) and urinary retention. Clinically the person is warm, flushed, blind, and unable to talk due to dry throat. Neurological disorders are ataxia, impaired short-term memory, disorientation, psychosis, agitated delirium, seizures and coma.

Children are more susceptible for accidental poisoning as the fruit mimics “Rambutan” and  some teenagers self-ingest the parts of the plant seeking its hallucinogenic and euphoric effects. The seeds have been mixed with sweets and given to people to rob while they were in state of confusion due to intoxication.

Management is symptomatic and supportive. It consists of sedation with Benzodiazepines to control agitation and control high temperature of the body.

Author: CeylonMediweb