C30H34O13=600.58. A neutral principle obtained from the seed of Anamirta patticulata Colebrooke (nat. ord. Menispermaceae). Synonyms. - Cocculus Indicus. Fishberry.

Habitat

East India.

Source

Obtained by exhaustion with hot Alcohol, evaporation and purification by re-crystallization, after decolorizing with Animal Charcoal.

Characters

Colorless, flexible, shining, prismatic crystals, or a micro-crystalline powder, odorless, and having a very bitter taste; permanent in the air.

Solubility

Soluble in 240 parts of water, and in 9 parts of Alcohol; also soluble in solutions of the alkalies, and in acids. Very slightly soluble in Ether or Chloroform.

Dose, 1/120 to 1/60 gr.; .0005 to .001 gm.

Action Of Picrotoxin

External

Picrotoxin is very destructive to lower forms of life, and is therefore antiparasitic.

Internal

It is a powerful poison, causing severe gastro-intestinal irritation, collapse, lightheadedness, convulsions, hyperpyrexia, slowing of the pulse and stimulation of the respiratory centre. Death results from asphyxia, partly due to convulsions and partly to ultimate paralysis of the respiratory centre.

Therapeutics Of Picrotoxin

External

An ointment of the seeds in lard 1 to 6 has been applied to the scalp to kill pediculi. It must be employed with caution, for this strong poison can be absorbed if the skin be broken. It is an expensive ointment.

Internal

Picrotoxin is used empirically, to check the night sweating of phthisis. A single dose should be given in the evening. Its action is uncertain, but sometimes it succeeds. Many other diseases have been treated with it, but there is no evidence that it has benefited them. Tablets, each containing 1/100 of a grain .0006 gm., are prepared for subcutaneous injection. One should be dissolved in a few drops of water immediately before use.