Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How are poisonous snake bites treated?

Treatment of poisonous snake bites involves thorough cleansing of the wound and observation of the victim to determine whether symptoms suggestive of evenomation develop over time. In most cases of poisonous snake bites, an antivenin (also called antivenom) is given. For rattlesnake, cottonmouth, and copperhead (pit viper) bites, Antivenin (Crotalidae) Polyvalent (ACP) equine (horse)-derived antivenin has been the standard treatment in emergency departments for many years. ACP, however, is known to cause a number of potentially severe allergic reactions because of its equine origin. In 2000 the U.S. FDA approved the sheep-derived antivenin CroFab which still has limited use due to expense and availability, but ultimately may prove safer for victims than ACP.

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