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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy of the H1 antihistamine promethazine against early anaphylactic reactions to antivenom. DESIGN: Sequential randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial. SETTING: Public hospital in a venom research institute, São Paulo, Brazil. PARTICIPANTS: 101 patients requiring antivenom treatment after being bitten by bothrops snakes. INTERVENTION: Intramuscular injection of promethazine (25 mg for adults and 0.5/kg for children) or placebo given 15-20 min before starting intravenous infusion of antivenom. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence and severity of anaphylactic reactions occurring within 24 hours after antivenom. RESULTS: Reactions occurred in 12 of 49 patients treated with promethazine (24%) and in 13 of 52 given placebo (25%); most were mild or moderate. Continuous sequential analysis indicated that the study could be interrupted at the 22nd untied pair, without preference for promethazine or placebo. CONCLUSION: Prophylaxis with promethazine does not prevent early reactions. Patients should be observed carefully during antivenom infusion and the subsequent few hours.

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMJ

Publication Date

29/05/1999

Volume

318

Pages

1451 - 1452

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Anaphylaxis, Animals, Antivenins, Bothrops, Child, Double-Blind Method, Female, Histamine H1 Antagonists, Humans, Infusions, Intravenous, Injections, Intramuscular, Male, Promethazine, Snake Bites