Entrez PubMed Nucleotide Protein Genome Structure OMIM PMC Journals Books
 Search for
  Limits  Preview/Index  History  Clipboard  Details     
About Entrez

Text Version

Entrez PubMed
Help | FAQ

PubMed Services
Journals Database
MeSH Database
Single Citation Matcher
Batch Citation Matcher
Clinical Queries

Related Resources
Order Documents
NLM Catalog
NLM Gateway
Consumer Health
Clinical Alerts
PubMed Central
1: Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2004 Mar 31;116(5-6):205-8. Related Articles, Links

Acute poisoning with autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale L.).

Brvar M, Kozelj G, Mozina M, Bunc M.

Poison Control Center, University Medical Center, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

INTRODUCTION: Colchicum autumnale, commonly known as the autumn crocus or meadow saffron, contains the antimitotic colchicine, which binds to tubulin and prevents it forming microtubules that are part of the cytoskeleton in all cells. CASE REPORT: A 71-year-old woman ate a plant she thought to be wild garlic (Allium ursinum). Ten hours later she arrived at the emergency department complaining of nausea, vomiting and watery diarrhea. Ingestion of a poisonous plant was suspected and she was treated with gastric lavage, oral activated charcoal and an infusion of normal saline. Toxicology analysis with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry revealed colchicine in the patient's gastric lavage, blood (5 microg/l) and urine (30 microg/l). She developed arrhythmias, liver failure, pancreatitis, ileus, and bone marrow suppression with pancytopenia. Alopecia began in the third week. Treatment was supportive only. Five months later she had no clinical or laboratory signs of poisoning. DISCUSSION: The patient mistakenly ingested autumn crocus instead of wild garlic because of their great similarity. Colchicine primarily blocks mitosis in tissues with rapid cell turnover; this results in gastroenterocolitis in the first phase of colchicine poisoning, bone marrow hypoplasia with pancytopenia in the second and alopecia in the third, all of which were present in our patient. Colchicine toxicity in tissues without rapid cell turnover caused arrhythmias, acute liver failure and pancreatitis. CONCLUSION: Colchicine poisoning can result in gastroenterocolitis followed by multi-organ dysfunction syndrome. In unexplained gastroenterocolitis after ingestion of wild plants as a salad or spice, especially when wild garlic is mentioned, we should always consider autumn crocus. Diagnosis could be confirmed only by toxicology analyses. Management of colchicine poisoning is restricted to supportive therapy.

Publication Types:
  • Case Reports

PMID: 15088997 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]