Ah, the things you learn in medical school. Apparently atropine is almost worthless against an attack, by say VX. It only helps those who are basically on the outer most edge of the effective radius of the weapon. Anyone else know anything about this? I just heard about this in passing in a lecture, and will get into it next year.. but apparently, atropine is issued to troops just the same way 'shark repellent' was issued to Pacific Aviators in WWII.
I worked at a place where we had Chem Weapons training, and I can say that this and one other needle (I forget what it was called) were the things we were told to use.
The average grunt is given 2-PAM CL and Antropine Sulfate autoinjectors and a Diazapam autoinjector. as was explained to me the purpose of the Mark I kits (2-PAM CL and Antropine autoinjectors) was ultimately to help force the body to remain alive so that your body can (on it's own) process and remove the toxins from your body, and the Diazapam is mostly for controlling seisures and muscle spasms. I am not too sure about that, I am not a medic and I do not have the best understanding of this stuff - someone else should post with more info if they have it.
Ultimately the idea was that you carry enough to provide first line treatment until a medic can (hopefully) look at them and provide continued care. We were not told anything about mortality rate or even the rate of permanent injury resulting from it. From what it sounded like I would personally rather my buddy *not* bother with trying to save my ass... but... it's just one of those things...
Atropin supply by the Army.
Yeah, but I heard that it's usefulness is only about 1.6x the lethal dose. So in effect, only if you get very very very minute doses. I dunno.. I'll let you guys know more when I find out more info.
Originally Posted by Wheke C9
Hot Biker Dude of Death
A mate of mine was seconded to UNSCOM in the early 90's - they used their Combo Pens (Atropine & Diazepam) on an Iraqi who was handling degraded Chemical munitions when they inspected (the UNSCOM guys were in IPE, the Iraqis weren't). Apparantly he lived...
Atropine wasn't intended to be used for nerve agents. It's use was supposed to be for Blood agents. As nerve agents are easier to produce, blood agents have lost their "fear factor" amongst the NBC world.
Horrible way to go no matter what the flavor...
Hot Biker Dude of Death
The instructors at DNBCC must have been wrong when I did my course then. It was a while ago...
Originally Posted by mi35d
AFAIK Atropine works this way:
If you come in contact with nerve gas VX, the gas is activating all your nerves, so that all your muscles are contracting and you get muscle-spasms all over your body.
In an early stage of poisoning you should use tha Atropine-Autoinjector, which is blocking most of the nerve-signals, so Atropine is the opposit of VX -> you don't feel better with Atropine, but you have a chance to survive, but only with medical help, because you need to pump the poison out of your body, and this can take several days.
So if you insert Atropine into your body, you'll start to vomit and "be incontinent", because your muscles won't contract - and this for several days. And the chance to suffer a brain damage isn't very small, so Atropine helps you to survive, but if you stay untreated you'll die anyway.
Modern army anti-chem injection are not just atorpine, but a combo of atorpine with several more chemicals plus pills which are taken before exposion to nerve gas to counter it's effect. Clean atropine is no longer used in the army.
Atropine does treat nerve agent poisoning. Here's why.
Originally Posted by mi35d
Nerve agents are acetylcholine esterase inhibitors. What this means is that they prevent the enzyme acetylcholine esterase from working. This is a Bad Thing because your cells use this enzyme to regulate the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Basicly, acetylcholine is used to pass siganls across "gaps" in nerves. If the enzyme can't regulate the level of acetylcholine, it will build up causing the nerve to send false signals.
So how does atropine help this?
Atropine blocks the action of acetylcholine at the cholingeric receptor. If we give atropine to a subject who has been exposed to a nerve agent , we will reduce the effects of the excess acetlycholine by stopping it from acting at its receptor site and creating a signal.
Atropine doesn't, however, effect the nerve agent, which will still inhibit acetylcholine esterase after atropine is given. Atropine also doesn't work at all the types of acetylcholine receptors, but is effective at blocking the main types.
Diazepam will, as stated, treat some of the syptoms of having too much acetylcholine.
Follow up is usually to give a drug which will bind to the nerve agent more strongly than the agent binds to acetylcholine esterase. Pralidoxime chloride is an example of this type of drug. However, nerve agents do eventually bind permanently to acetylcholine esterase: after this has happened drugs like pralidoxime chloride won't work. Usually the patient can be treated before this time, although some nerve agents are faster to bind permanently.
Blood agents are, AFAIK, things like hydrogen cyanide. Amyl nitrate is the usual thing to use immediately after exposure to cyanide. There are real problems with drugs used to treat cyanide, and at one of the labs I worked in the antidote kits were removed because they were considered to be too dangerous!