Human exposures to pentobarbital–phenytoin combination veterinary drugs

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A combination of pentobarbital and phenytoin is used as a veterinary euthanasia drug. Because of its lethal effect, this study described pentobarbital–phenytoin combination veterinary drug human exposures reported to Texas poison centers during 2000–2015. Of 66 exposures, 73% involved female and 27% male patients. The distribution by patient age was 3% 0–5 years, 5% 6–19 years, 91% 20+ years, and 2% unknown. The most common routes were ocular (41%), ingestion (32%), injection (23%), and dermal (18%). The exposure reasons were unintentional (77%) and intentional (23%). The exposure site was the workplace (52%), patient’s own residence (38%), health-care facility (2%), and other/unknown (9%). The management site was managed on site (48%), at/en route to health-care facility (45%), referred to health-care facility (5%), and other (2%). The medical outcomes were no effect (23%), minor effect (30%), moderate effect (8%), major effect (8%), not followed nontoxic (3%), not followed minimal effects (24%), unable to follow potentially toxic (2%), and unrelated (3%). The most common adverse effects were ocular irritation/pain (18%), drowsiness/lethargy (15%), and coma (9%). The most common treatments were dilution/irrigation (70%), intravenous fluids (21%), and oxygen (14%). This study found few pentobarbital–phenytoin combination veterinary drug exposures were reported to Texas poison centers during a 16-year period. Although meant to be administered intravenously, the most common exposure routes were ocular and ingestion. Many of the exposures appeared to be unintentional and occurred at the workplace.

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