What is it about?

Ricin is a protein derived from the castor bean plant Ricinus communis that can lead to poisoning. More recently, its misuse as a potential bioterrorism agent has been reported. We report a case of acute intoxication after an intentional ingestion of castor beans.

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Why is it important?

This case highlights the importance of knowing the peculiar pharmacokinetic properties of ricin after the oral ingestion of castor beans and toxin release through mastication. Emergency physicians should be aware that oral absorption of ricin is dependent on several factors, such as type and size of seeds and the geographic harvesting region, making it extremely difficult to estimate its lethality based solely on the number of ingested beans. Finally, comprehensive untargeted urine drug screening testing is highly valuable as a diagnostic tool in this context.

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This page is a summary of: Ricin Poisoning after Oral Ingestion of Castor Beans: A Case Report and Review of the Literature and Laboratory Testing, Journal of Emergency Medicine, November 2017, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2017.08.023.
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