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Master Thesis

Le cyanure dans l'histoire et intoxications actuelles

Abstract : Cyanide was already known in Egyptian and Greek antiquity. The Roman "Pharmacopeia", called De materia medica, reported the toxic powers of the bitter almond and its therapeutic uses. Cyanide will be discovered thanks to the scientific advances of the eighteenth century and the work of chemists (Scheele, Gay-Lussac) on Prussian blue. Then known as a poison, it also had therapeutic uses against cough, lung diseases and gastric spasms. Its toxicity will lead to its output for the pharmacopoeia in 1937. The army used it (empires wars and volatile gas during the First World War). He is best known for its use in the death camps of the Second World War. Terrorism uses this method of poisoning the population. Its fast action made it a method of suicide or murder (Rasputin, Temple of Jonestown, Alan Turing). It is also used in the industry secter mostly for gold extraction but poorly mastered uses led to disasters (Bhopal, Baia Mare). The biochemical action of cyanide has now been identified: it blocks the mitochondrial respiratory chain, which gives its fast action. Today the causes of poisoning mainly concern fire and industrial production, not plants ingestion. The cyanide poisoning is not notifiable, so the statistics are not exhaustive. The data analysis of the Bordeaux poison control center (September 2007-April 2015), shows fire as the leading cause of poisoning. The clinical description of poisoning according to the exposure is now well defined. However, the options available for medical treatment are nonconsensual. Hydroxocobalamin (Cyanokit®) and sodium thiosulfate aremost commonly used in France.
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Master Thesis
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Contributor : Bu Carreire Université de Bordeaux <>
Submitted on : Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 4:43:20 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 15, 2019 - 3:40:00 PM


  • HAL Id : dumas-01237734, version 1



Morgane Flahaut. Le cyanure dans l'histoire et intoxications actuelles. Médecine humaine et pathologie. 2015. ⟨dumas-01237734⟩



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