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Accidental human poisoning with a veterinary tranquilliser
  1. F H Cummins
  1. Correspondence to:
 F H Cummins
 Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland;

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Detomidine is an alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist drug, which is used in veterinary medicine for sedation of large animals.1–4 It is highly potent and has sedative and analgesic properties.1,2 This paper reports a case of accidental human poisoning with this drug.


A 35 year old farmer was preparing to sedate a bull in order to pare its hooves. No vet was present. The farmer had 5 ml of Domosedan (detomidine hydrochloride 10 mg/ml) in a 5 ml syringe with a 21G×1.5″ (0.8×40 mm) needle attached. The bull moved as the farmer was about to give this medication and he injected himself in the thenar emminence of his left hand. He later said that he had been holding the syringe by the barrel rather than the plunger and he did not think he had injected a significant volume of the drug. He claimed that he could not recall how he came to possess the drug. He had no relevant medical history, was on no medication, and had …

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  • Competing interests: none declared