Antidotes are substances reducing or eliminating the harmful effects of the poison.

What really helps with poisoning

In line with our company philosophy to also develop pharmaceuticals for which there is only a very small market, the product range ‘Antidotes’ was devised and included in the product portfolio: NATRIUMTHIOSULFAT, 4-DMAP, ATROPINSULFAT, ANTICHOLIUM®, KOHLE-PULVIS.

The world’s only effective antidote against cyanide poisoning, namely 4-DMAP (4-dimethylaminophenol) was developed by the Toxicological Institute in Munich – with substantial support from Dr. Franz Köhler Chemie GmbH.

Cyanide poisoning can occur both with suicidal intent and in industrial accidents in companies that, for example, require cyanide lye for the separation of precious metals or use cyanides as a starting compound for further chemicals. Without the immediate use of the antidote 4-DMAP, these poisonings would be fatal. Instant availability is therefore the key requirement for saving lives.

The active ingredient of the antidote ANTICHOLIUM® – as an ‘inhibitor’ of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase – delays the decomposition of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This increases the concentration of acetylcholine in the body, boosting the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. It is therefore used as an antidote in cases of life-threatening poisoning with certain substances that inhibit the transmitter acetylcholine (anticholinergic substances such as atropine, phenothiazine, etc.).

Here again, thanks to some unique selling propositions of these products in the pharmaceutical sector, Dr. Franz Köhler Chemie GmbH can look back on a successful history of product development.

What is a poison anyway?

A poison is a substance or compound that has a harmful effect on health or that presents a relatively high risk of having such a harmful effect. However, as the German physician and naturalist Paracelsus put it: “All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.” For instance, there are many plant substances that have a therapeutic effect (e. g. cardioactive substances from foxglove), whereas in higher concentrations, they are toxic (poisonous).

In addition to the dose, other factors have a significant influence on the toxicity of substances: the type of the poison, the duration of exposure in the body, the general state of health of the person affected, and the way the poison distributes in the body. Low concentrations of poison can cause symptoms of poisoning after long-term exposure just as high concentrations can cause symptoms of poisoning after short-term exposure.

What are the most frequent types of poisoning?

The most common types of poisoning are found in the pharmaceutical sector. Improper use of medications (e.g., painkillers, sleeping pills, sedatives) accounts for approximately 40 % of all poisoning cases. Substances used for household purposes such as stain removers, acids, turpentine and other cleaning agents are also common causes of poisoning accidents (about 30 %). Furthermore, symptoms of poisoning can be caused by plants, fungi and substances that may be present in the workplace (e. g. heavy metals, dusts) or by environmental toxins (e. g. exhaust gases).

General measures to be taken in case of poisoning

One of the most important emergency procedures for poisoning is maintaining the affected person’s respiratory and circulatory function. Medical advice must be sought immediately. In most cases, admission to a hospital is required. The remedies available there include the so-called antidotes (= antitoxins). These are substances that reduce or eliminate the harmful effects of a poison.

The contact details of the Poison Information Centers in Germany are provided below.

Dangerous plant parts

according to Mutschler, E., in his book “Arzneimittelwirkungen”, 1998, on the effects of medicines

PlantParticularly dangerous parts of the plant
Yew treeneedles
Monkshood (wolfsbane)leaves and seeds
Scarlet runner beanseeds
Common beanraw beans
Autumn crocus (meadow saffron)seeds
Spindle treeberries
Hemlockall parts
Daphneflowers, berries
Datura (thornapple)seeds
Belladonna (deadly nightshade)berries