Envenomation by Mesobuthus tamulus scorpion sting can result in serious cardiovascular effects. Scorpion antivenom is a specific treatment for scorpion sting. Evidence for the benefit of scorpion antivenom and its efficacy compared with that of commonly used vasodilators, such as prazosin, is scarce. We assessed the efficacy of prazosin combined with scorpion antivenom, compared with prazosin alone, in individuals with autonomic storm caused by scorpion sting.
DESIGN: Prospective, open label randomised controlled trial.
SETTING: General hospital inpatients (Bawaskar Hospital and Research Centre Mahad Dist-Raigad Maharashtra, India).
PARTICIPANTS: Seventy patients with grade 2 scorpion envenomation, older than six months, with no cardiorespiratory or central nervous system abnormalities.
INTERVENTIONS: Scorpion antivenom plus prazosin (n=35) or prazosin alone (n=35) assigned by block randomisation. Treatment was not masked. Analysis was by intention to treat.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary end point was the proportion of patients achieving resolution of the clinical syndrome (sweating, salivation, cool extremities, priapism, hypertension or hypotension, tachycardia) 10 hours after administration of study drugs. Secondary end points were time required for complete resolution of clinical syndrome, prevention of deterioration to higher grade, doses of prazosin required overall and within 10 hours, and adverse events. The study protocol was approved by the independent ethics committee of Mumbai.
RESULTS: Mean (SD) recovery times in hours for the prazosin plus scorpion antivenom group compared with the prazosin alone groups were: sweating 3 (1.1) v 6.6 (2.6); salivation 1.9 (0.9) v 3 (1.9); priapism 4.7 (1.5) v 9.4 (1.5). Mean (SD) doses of prazosin in the groups were 2 (2.3) and 4 (3.5), respectively. 32 patients (91.4%, 95% confidence interval 76.9% to 97.8%) in the prazosin plus antivenom group showed complete resolution of the clinical syndrome within 10 hours of administration of treatment compared with eight patients in the prazosin group (22.9%, 11.8% to 39.3%). Patients from the antivenom plus prazosin group recovered earlier (mean 8 hours, 95% CI 6.5 to 9.5) than those in the control group (17.7 hours, 15.4 to 19.9; mean difference -9.7 hours, -6.9 to -12.4). The number of patients whose condition deteriorated to a higher grade was similar in both groups (antivenom plus prazosin four of 35, prazosin alone five of 35). Hypotension was reported in fewer patients in the antivenom plus prazosin group (12 of 35, 34.3%) than in the prazosin group (19 of 35, 54.3%), but the difference was not statistically significant. No difference was noted in change in blood pressure and pulse rate over time between two groups.
CONCLUSION: Recovery from scorpion sting is hastened by simultaneous administration of scorpion antivenom plus prazosin compared with prazosin alone.
Source: this trial is registered in India