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For persons with pit viper envenomations threatening life or limb, there are no contraindications to administration of Antivenin. However, administration to persons known to be allergic to horse serum, either by history or as a result of an appropriate sensitivity test, requires careful judgement and considerable experience in the use of antivenoms, as well as experience in the management of severe, immediate allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).5,10,11,12
Antivenin should never be administered prophylactically to asymptomatic patients.13
5. WINGERT, W. and WAINSCHEL, J.: Diagnosis and management of envenomation by poisonous snakes. South. Med. J. 68:1015, 1975.
10. RUSSEL, F.: Snake venom poisoning. Scholium International, Inc., New York, 1983.
11. LOPRINZI, C. et al: Snake Antivenin administration in a patient allergic to horse serum. South. Med. J. 76:501, 1983.
12. OTTEN, E. & MCKIMM, D.: Venomous snakebite in a patient allergic to horse serum. Ann. Emerg. Med. 12:624, 1983.
13. BOWDEN, C. & KRENZELOK, E.: Clinical applications of commonly used contemporary antidotes, a US perspective. Drug Safety 16(1):22-24, 1997.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/2/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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