Journal of Medical Toxicology

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 148–151 | Cite as

Nutmeg Poisonings: A Retrospective Review of 10 Years Experience from the Illinois Poison Center, 2001–2011

  • Jamie E. EhrenpreisEmail author
  • Carol DesLauriers
  • Patrick Lank
  • P. Keelan Armstrong
  • Jerrold B. Leikin
Toxicology Investigation


Nutmeg is a commonly consumed spice. The toxic effects of nutmeg have been purported to be due mainly to myristicin oil. Prior poison center series of nutmeg exposures show very few unintentional exposures of nutmeg to children younger than 13. Case series from these centers did not record drug exposures combined with nutmeg. This study is a review of Illinois Poison Center (IPC) data regarding nutmeg exposures from January of 2001 to December 2011. The goal of this study was to compare the Illinois data to the literature as well as look for current trends in nutmeg poisonings. The data were extracted using the code for hallucinogenic plants in the IPC database, and poisonings unrelated to nutmeg exposure were eliminated. Medical outcomes were noted as recorded. Thirty-two cases of nutmeg ingestion were reported. Of the 17 (53.1 %) unintentional exposures, 10 subjects (58.8 %) were under the age of 13. Four of the exposures in children under the age of 13 were ocular exposures. Fifteen exposures (46.9 %) were intentional exposures. Of these intentional exposures, five (33.3 %) were recorded to have combined drug intoxication. All of these were between the ages of 15 and 20. One patient with polypharmaceutical exposure required ventilatory support in the hospital. Our study shows an unexpected percentage of unintentional exposures in juveniles under the age of 13, out of the total exposures to nutmeg. Mixing of nutmeg with other drugs was seen and required more intervention in adolescents. More education about these two factors, i.e., nutmeg exposures as intentional polypharmacy in adolescents and unintentional exposures in young children, is advised.


Nutmeg Myristicin oil Polypharmacy Overdose Hallucinogen 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Eli D. Ehrenpreis for his help in manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© American College of Medical Toxicology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie E. Ehrenpreis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carol DesLauriers
    • 2
  • Patrick Lank
    • 3
    • 4
  • P. Keelan Armstrong
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jerrold B. Leikin
    • 7
  1. 1.Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and ScienceSkokieUSA
  2. 2.Illinois Poison CenterChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Northwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Emergency MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Computer Science DepartmentBrandeis UniversityBostonUSA
  6. 6.Computer Science Department MS 018Brandeis UniversityWalthamUSA
  7. 7.NorthShore University HealthSystemGlenviewUSA

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