• cyanide;
  • antidote;
  • poisoning

Cyanide is both widely available and easily accessible throughout the world. Although the compound is not frequently encountered, it has been used as a poison and contaminant in the past and is a potential terrorist agent. Cyanide has the ability to cause significant social disruption and demands special attention to public health preparedness. It can be obtained from a variety of sources, including industrial, medical, and even common household products. Another frequently encountered source of cyanide exposure is residential fires. Exposure to high concentrations of the chemical can result in death within seconds to minutes. Long-term effects from cyanide exposure can cause significant morbidity. The only treatment for cyanide toxicity approved for use in the United States is a kit consisting of amyl nitrite, sodium nitrite, and sodium thiosulfate. Future research aims to find a faster-acting, more effective, and better tolerated treatment for cyanide toxicity.