Ergotism

Common Name(s)

Ergotism, St. Anthony's fire

St Anthony's fire or ergotism is an illness caused by long term exposure to ergotamine. Ergotamine or ergot is produced by certain flowers and also a fungus called Claviceps purpurea which grows on rye and other cereal grains. Eating grains infected by the fungus can cause a build up of ergotamine. Ergotamine can also be the result of ergot-based drugs especially LSD and other psychedlic drugs. In the short term, exposure to ergot can cause hallucinations, mood disorders, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, muscle twitching, and cramping. Some patients develop reddened skin and a burning sensation, explaining the alternate name “St. Anthony's Fire” used historically to describe this condition. Exposure to high volumes of ergot, especially over time, can cause chronic forms of ergotism. A neurological form is characterized by convulsions, twitching, and involuntary movements. Another form focused on the blood vessel system causes dry gangrene. The blood supply to the extremities (hands and feet) is cut off as a result of extreme vasoconstriction (blood vessels become very narrow stopping the blood from circulating properly). This causes the limbs to die. This condition is very rare in modern times although there have been reported cases due to an interaction of certain antiretroviral drugs being used to treat HIV/AIDS. There are also small amounts of ergotamine in certain medications to treat migraines and Parkinsons disease, but no reported cases have been reported. Treatments for ergotism can include the administration of vasodilators to prevent gangrene, along with nerve blocks for patients experiencing extreme neurological symptoms. Supportive care can also involve sedation for patients with behavioral outbursts. Once the fungus has been expelled from the person's system, the treatment can be tapered off and the person should make a complete recovery as long as no more ergot is ingested.

Source: Advocacy organizations associated with the condition.

 

Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Ergotism" for support, advocacy or research.

There are currently no organizations listed in Disease InfoSearch that support this condition. Create a listing.

 

 

General Support Organizations

Not finding the support you need? Show General Support Organizations

 
 
Top

How do you compare to others with this condition?

Privately answer questions about your health. Let resources, you select, come to you.

Anonymously share and see how your answers compare with others with this condition while privately providing key pieces of information to medical researchers, disease advocacy groups, and others ONLY YOU select to help speed up cures and better alternatives.

 
 

Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Ergotism" for support, advocacy or research.

There are currently no organizations listed in Disease InfoSearch that support this condition. Create a listing.

 

 

General Support Organizations

Not finding the support you need? Show General Support Organizations

 
 
 
 
Top

Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Ergotism" returned 18 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

[Ergotism due to simultaneous use of ergot alkaloids and high activity antiretroviral therapy].
 

Author(s): Daniel Cifuentes M, Sergio Blanco L, Camila Ramírez F

Journal: Rev Med Chil. 2016 Jun;144(6):807-12.

 

High activity antiretroviral therapy may exacerbate the activity of ergot alkaloids due to an inhibition of cytochrome P450. We report a 57 years old female with AIDS treated with lamivudine, zidovudine, atazanavir, ritonavir and cotrimoxazole presenting with ischemic signs in the ...

Last Updated: 7 Sep 2016

Go To URL
Transient ischemic attack caused by cerebral ergotism.
 

Author(s): Gustavo Andrés Gaye-Saavedra, Federico Preve, Silvana Albisu, Mariana Legnani

Journal: Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2016 Mar;74(3):258.

 

Last Updated: 7 Apr 2016

Go To URL
Ergotism in Thailand caused by increased access to antiretroviral drugs: a global warning.
 

Author(s): Anchalee Avihingsanon, Reshmie A Ramautarsing, Gompol Suwanpimolkul, Ploenchan Chetchotisakd, Chureeratana Bowonwatanuwong, Supunnee Jirajariyavej, Patcharee Kantipong, Hutsaya Tantipong, June Pirapon Ohata, Chusana Suankratay, Kiat Ruxrungtham, David M Burger

Journal: Top Antivir Med. 2014 Jan;21(5):165-8.

 

Ergotism is a toxic condition resulting from overexposure to the ergot compounds produced by various fungi of the genus Claviceps. Traditionally, such exposure was due to ingestion of infected grains, but long-term or excessive use of medications containing ergot derivatives or drug-drug ...

Last Updated: 17 Feb 2014

Go To URL

Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Ergotism" returned 1 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

[Ergotism. A case report and review of the literature].
 

Author(s): L A Ruano-Calderón, F Zermeño-Pohls

Journal: Rev Neurol. ;40(7):412-6.

 

Ergotism is characterised by an intensive generalised vasoconstriction of small and large blood vessels. The symptoms derive from the regional ischemia caused by the vasospasm produced by ergotamine. Nowadays, ergotism is almost exclusively due to the excessive ingestion of ergotamine ...

Last Updated: 25 Apr 2005

Go To URL
 
 
Top

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

There are currently no related results available in Genetics Home Reference.

There are currently no related results available in GeneReviews.

There are currently no related results available in Genetic Testing Registry.

 
 
Top

Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

There are currently no open clinical trials for this condition.