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Bitter lupine beans ingestion in a child: a disregarded cause of acute anticholinergic toxicity


We describe the case of a 6-year-old girl brought to the emergency department for the sudden onset of anticholinergic syndrome after the ingestion of a few home-made partially debittered lupine beans. She complained of blurry vision, headache, photophobia and nausea. No specific treatment was needed, and the symptoms resolved about 12 h after the exposure. Lupine beans are a popular and worldwide-diffused food. The bitter variety is rich in alkaloids harbouring anticholinergic activity and thus requires a debittering process before lupines can be eaten. Only four cases of acute toxicity, due to the ingestion of incompletely detoxified bitter lupines, have been reported in children so far; notwithstanding the small amount of lupines ingested, three of these cases were lethal. Conclusion: Acute anticholinergic syndrome can arise after the consumption of a wide range of exogenous substances including partially debittered lupine beans. Paediatricians should be aware of bitter lupine toxicity, recognize possible cases of intoxication, ensure a prompt and appropriate supportive treatment and provide appropriate information about their danger.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Liviana Da Dalt.

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Daverio, M., Cavicchiolo, M.E., Grotto, P. et al. Bitter lupine beans ingestion in a child: a disregarded cause of acute anticholinergic toxicity. Eur J Pediatr 173, 1549–1551 (2014).

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  • Lupine
  • Toxicity
  • Poisoning
  • Anticholinergic syndrome
  • Children