Treatment for Sulphur Mustard Poisoning -A Review

  • K. Sugendran Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
  • Pravin Kumar Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
  • R. Vijayaraghavan Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Keywords: Antidotes, Treatment regime, Systemic toxicity, Chemical weapons, Geneva protocol, Intensive medical care


Sulphur mustard (SM) is a chemical warfare agent of historical and current interest It is a wellknown blistering agent or vesicant SM was extensively used in world war I as a chemical weaponand has been stockpiled by several counbies since that time. SM serves as an ideal war gas and is favoured militarily for its ability to incapacitate rather than to kill. Its use resulted in large numbers ofcasualties requiring prolonged and intensive medical care. Despite Geneva Protocol of 1925, which categorically bnned the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons in wars, SM has beenused in several wars, including the Iran-Irnq war during the 1980s, which renewed interest in it.Though, the chemical we'dpons convention was signed by more than 160 counbies in 1993 and wassubsequently ratified by several counbies, the threat from this agent persists due to its clandestineusage during war and also by teITOrist groups. There is no effective and specific antidote for local andsystemic toxicity of SM despite scientific research for more than 75 years. Many compounds weretested as antidotes for SM, but very few of them have been shown to provide some protection. The present review is aimed at evaluating the treatment regime and other clinical measures used to treat  SM victims and the various drugs and chemicals screened as antidotes for SM poisoning in experimental animals.

Author Biographies

K. Sugendran, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Dr K Sugendran obtained his MSc (Biochemistry) from Madras University and PhD (Biochemistry)from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. He worked at JlPMER, Pondicherry and subsequently at MadrasPort Trust Hospital in various capacities for a decade. He joined Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, in 1987 and presently working on the development of antidoteagainst sulphur mustard intoxication. He has published 20 papers in national and international journals.
Pravin Kumar, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Dr Pravin Kumar obtained his MSc ( Pharmacology) from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad and PhD (Pharmacology) from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. He is presently working on inhalation toxicity studies of peripheral sensory irritants, evaluation of antidotal potential of newly synthesised WR-2721 analogs against sulphur mustard in toxication and in vitro neurotoxicity testing of chemicals using electrophysiological technique. He has published more than 25 research papers innational and international journals.
R. Vijayaraghavan, Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
Dr R Vijayaraghavan obtained his MSc (Pharinacology) from Madras University and PhD(Pharmacology) from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. He worked as Visiting Research Associate at University of Pittsburgh, USA, during 1991-93. Currently, he is Scientist E and Head, Pharmacology and Toxicology Division at the Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior. His areasof research include inhalation toxicology and evaluation of antidotes against CW agents.


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How to Cite
Sugendran, K., Kumar, P., & Vijayaraghavan, R. (2013). Treatment for Sulphur Mustard Poisoning -A Review. Defence Science Journal, 48(2), 155-162.
Biomedical Sciences

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