WASHINGTON - Drug-safety officials have approved the first-ever treatment for scorpion stings that can prove fatal if left untreated.
The Food and Drug Administration says it will permit the use of Anascorp to treat stings by Centruroides scorpions, which live mostly in Arizona.
Stings by the scorpion can cause difficulty breathing, blurred vision and muscle twitching. Untreated cases can be fatal.
The FDA says that Anascorp is effective when injected into patients who had run-ins with Centruroides. It says that children and infants are the most likely to experience severe stings.
The approval follows a controlled trial that included 15 children with symptoms associated with scorpion stings. All of the subjects that received the drug improved within four hours.
Symptoms persisted for all but one in a group that didn't receive Anascorp.
With current antivenom treatments, children might take a several days to recover.
"If we gave them the antivenom, they were often sitting up, smiling, eating an ice pop in just a couple of hours and able to go home. It was really, really amazing," said venom specialist at The University of Arizona, Dr. Michelle Ruha.
Doctors at The University of Arizona say Anascorp could be in hospitals everywhere in a month.