Oleander

Alternative names
Common oleander; Rosebay

Definition
Poisoning from sucking nectar from the flowers, chewing leaves, using the branches as skewers to roast meat, or from honey made by bees using the oleander plant for nectar.

Poisonous Ingredient

     
  • neriin  
  • oleondroside  
  • oleandrin

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Where Found

     
  • twigs, leaves, and flowers of the oleander plant

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms

     
  • body as a whole       o weakness       o dizziness  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o blurred vision       o halos around objects (yellow, green, white) *  
  • skin       o rash       o hives  
  • gastrointestinal       o loss of appetite *       o vomiting or nausea       o abdominal pain (lower stomach)       o diarrhea  
  • heart and blood vessels       o irregular or slow heartbeat       o low blood pressure  
  • nervous system       o drowsiness       o confusion       o depression *       o headache       o fainting       o lethargy       o disorientation       o death

*Usually only seen in chronic overdose

Home Treatment

Call Poison Control.

Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:

     
  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the plant  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container or plant with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

     
  • induce vomiting  
  • administer activated charcoal  
  • gastric lavage  
  • monitor vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, and so forth)  
  • monitor EKG (monitors heart function)  
  • blood samples drawn to determine:       o serum magnesium level       o serum potassium levels  
  • administration of antidote and other medication to correct problems resulting from the overdose if needed  
  • correction of electrolyte (potassium, magnesium) imbalances

Expectations (prognosis)

If the individual survives the first 24 hours their chances of survival are very good.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.