Pediatric Use of Chemical Poisoning Treatment Approved by FDA


Protopam Chloride (pralidoxime chloride), a drug used to treat poisoning by organophosphate pesticides and chemicals has been approved for pediatric use by intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Protopam Chloride is made by Baxter Healthcare Corp., Deerfield, Ill. The drug received FDA approval for treatment in adults in 1964 to treat various types of pesticide and chemical poisoning in adults. The drug works as an antidote to pesticides and chemicals of the organophosphate class by slowing the attachment of the chemical to nerve endings.

The new option of chemical poisoning treatment helpful as IV drug use in children is difficult.

“It can be difficult to use IV drugs in children, particularly in emergency situations, so having the new option of IM injection may help health care professionals use this medicine quickly and accurately,” said Dianne Murphy, M.D., director of the FDA's Office of Pediatric Therapeutics.


Organophosphate pesticides are typically used in the farm setting and by professional exterminators. Organophosphate compounds include some of the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture. These insecticides are esters, amides, or simple derivatives of phosphoric and thiophosphoric acids. They are grouped according to their toxic action on insects: contact poisons or selective systemic insecticides. Selective systemic organophosphate insecticides are toxic to plant pests but not to their predators.

Organophosphate toxicity
is due to the ability of these compounds to inhibit acetylcholinesterase at cholinergic junctions of the nervous system. Excess acetylcholine produces a predictable cholinergic syndrome. Mild symptoms include a runny nose, teary eyes, or vomiting. More serious symptoms consists of copious respiratory and oral secretions, diarrhea and vomiting, sweating, altered mental status, autonomic instability, and generalized weakness that can progress to paralysis and respiratory arrest.

When chemical poisoning is suspected, medical attention should be sought immediately and the local poison control center should be contacted by dialing 800-222-1222, nationwide.

For more information:
MedLine Plus: Poisoning
Poison Control Centers

FDA News Release