Scorpion Stings Hurt No More

Anascorp injections will treat dangerous scorpion stings within four hours

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Most scorpion stings don't require treatment. But the U.S. FDA has approved the first treatment specifically for scorpion stings that can be administered if stung by one of about 25 venomous varieties.

The approved treatment called Anascorp was specifically designed to treat stings from Centruroides scorpions.

"Ask about the drug if stung by a dangerous scorpion."

There are more than 1,700 types of scorpions, but in the United States the majority of venomous scorpions are found in Arizona. Stings may cause pain, muscle twitches, drooling, breathing problems and uncoordinated movements. Some stings can be fatal.

Before approval of the new drug, stings were primarily treated with supportive care in a hospital, including bed rest, sedatives for muscle spasms and possibly intravenous medications for pain and elevated blood pressure.

Previously a serum that neutralized the venom was available to treat severe cases. But the treatment that was derived from goat blood could cause life-threatening reactions.

Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the product provides a new treatment for children and adults since stings can be life-threatening, especially in children.

The injection is made from horse plasma that is immunized with scorpion venom. Anascorp could cause allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to horse proteins, though the manufacturing process includes steps to lower the risk of transmission of viruses that could remain in the plasma.

Anascorp received a priority review because it was designated an orphan drug, meaning it would treat a rare disorder. The process acknowledges that a lower threshold may be allowed in clinical trials for diseases and disorders that are rare and unusual.

Anascorp was tested in a randomized double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial of 15 children with scorpion stings who experienced neurological signs. Those signs were resolved within four hours of treatment in the eight children who received injections of the drug. However, the symptoms disappeared in only one of the seven children treated with the placebo.

In total, safety and efficacy data was collected from 1,534 patients in open-label and blinded studies. The most common side effects were nausea, fever, vomiting, rash, itchiness, headache, runny nose and muscle pain.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 3, 2011
Last Updated:
August 6, 2011