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Etymology: Gk, para + L, quaterni, four each, potio, drink
a toxic condition caused by the ingestion of paraquat dichloride, a highly poisonous herbicide. Characteristically, progressive pulmonary fibrosis and damage to the esophagus, kidneys, and liver develop several days after ingestion. After fibrosis begins, death is inevitable, usually within 3 weeks. The mechanism of action of the poison is unknown. Most often poisoning results from accidental occupational exposure. There is considerable concern that the inhalation of the smoke of marijuana treated with the herbicide may cause intoxication, but no clinical syndrome resulting from such exposure has been documented.
Poisoning caused by ingestion of paraquat. Patients may be treated with oral activated charcoal and, if kidney failure is present, hemodialysis.
See also: poisoning