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KUNMING -- Chinese scientists have found that retigabine, a common medication for epilepsy, can be used to treat centipede bites.
Researchers at the Kunming Institute of Zoology found in experiments using mice and monkeys that retigabine can effectively treat symptoms of centipede venom such as heart failure, epilepsy, and respiratory depression.
"Retigabine is safe and reliable, and has long been used in epilepsy treatment," said Yang Shilong, researcher with the institute, "with our findings, it can also be used to treat patients of centipede bites in the future."
Centipedes can subdue giant prey within 30 seconds using venom. Severe clinical cardiovascular symptoms, even death, have been reported following centipede bites, yet no effective therapeutic interventions are available, according to Yang.
In Hawaii, 11 of every 100 emergency cases are due to centipede bites, Yang said.
The findings were published in the scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States" earlier this week.