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Pharming: We’re not talking about planting crops, here, folks!

Posted: July 27th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

By Kris Ochs, Pharm.D. student

Have you heard of this  trend in teen drug abuse called “Pharming”?  Pharming refers to the practice of abusing prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products.  This includes taking a higher dose of one’s own medication than is prescribed, taking a drug that is prescribed for someone else, and, in the case of OTC’s, taking a medication in a different way than it is intended to be used in an effort to get high.  There are many reasons why this practice has gained popularity; some of them being that these medications are readily available in home medicine cabinets, on pharmacy shelves, and even easily purchased online.  Read more »

Watch Out for Those Scary Berries!

Posted: July 20th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

By Erin Pallasch, PharmD and IPC Call Center Specialist

Recently, I set out on a quest to determine which would be the scariest berry ingestion a parent might call the Illinois Poison Center about.  There are many toxic berries out there, but the one I would be most concerned with would be the Chinaberry. The ingestion of only 6-8 berries has been reported as fatal in a child.  The good news is we don’t have any berries this toxic native to Illinois. Whew! Chinaberries have a large range of toxicity depending on the region they grow in and although these berries can be found in Hawaii, Texas and from Florida to Virginia, the fatalities reported have been from eating the African species. I’m relieved to know I am not likely to get a call about these berries here at the IPC, BUT we have plenty of berries native to Illinois to keep us quite busy.   Read more »

Toxic landscaping and the ubiquitous Yew

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

A few years ago we published a case report of a fatal ingestion of the Yew plant in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  It was one of two deaths reported to the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) due to this plant in the 12 years that I have been associated with the Illinois Poison Center.  Since last week’s blog was on poisonous plants, it seems like a good idea to continue that theme as this is a busy time of year for gardening and landscaping. Read more »

Native to Illinois, Jimson Weed is highly toxic and in season

Posted: July 6th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

Jimson Weed, (scientific name Datura stramonium) is a toxic  plant found all over Illinois.  Some of its other common names include devil’s trumpet, thorn apple,  Jamestown weed, stinkweed, and  locoweed.

This plant grows throughout Illinois, either wild or as part of a planned landscape.  It has a beautiful flower that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe to paint some of her most ambitious works.

Jimson Weed however, contains anticholinergic compounds which cause a classic toxidrome “red as a beet, dry as a bone, blind as a bat, mad as a hatter, and hot as a hare”.   Read more »