Toxicon. 2005 Feb;45(2):187-98.
The improvement of the immunotherapeutic treatment of envenomations requires a better knowledge of the pharmacological actions of the scorpion venom and of the mechanism of its in vivo neutralization by antivenom. In the present work, we determined the toxicokinetic parameters of the toxic fraction of Androctonus australis garzonii venom in the absence and after antivenom immunotherapy, in experimentally envenomed rabbits. After subcutaneous injection of the scorpion venom, toxins showed a fast and complete resorption from the site of injection associated with a simultaneous distribution in a large extracellular compartment and with an important body clearance. The precocious intravenous injection of an appropriate antivenom dose was shown to induce an immediate, complete and durable neutralization of toxins, as well as their rapid redistribution from the peripheric compartment to the vascular one. On the contrary, the intramuscular injection of the same antivenom dose produced a slower and partial redistribution of toxins, leading to a delayed neutralization of the venom. The intravenous injection of smaller antivenom doses induced transient decreases of circulating toxins, indicating that a minimal antivenom dose has to be administered to allow an efficient and durable neutralization of the venom. We concluded also that this minimal effective dose of antivenom has to be injected precociously, by intravenous route, to achieve an efficient immunotherapy.