4 chemicals that can seriously f*ck you up (or save your life)

1. warfarin (aka “coumadin”)


Found in: Rat poison

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

This chemical helps prevents blood clots from forming. WHAT THE WHAT?” you might me saying, “I need to clot so I don’t bleed to death!” That, my friends, is a true fact.  BUT! If things go to clot cray cray…

…clots can break into pieces and travel in the blood stream, lodging in the heart (causing a heart attack), the lungs (pulmonary embolus), or the brain (stroke).

[excerpt from University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers ‘Warfarin/Coumadin‘]

A bit of warfarin helps prevent that bullshit.  If you’re on warfarin, you’re under a doctor’s care and better do everything they damn well tell you.  This chemical is saving you from clot madness because it’s preventing clotting, a necessary bodily function. Dosage, follow-through, and follow-up are critical.

2. succinylcholine (aka “sux”)


Found in: Murder plots

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

This chemical paralyzes the muscles in your body from the outer extremities inwards. Sound terrifying? Damn right it does.  Deadly too, as the muscles helping you breathe will stop working.  Just how the hell is this going to save your motherfucking life?!

The administration of sux is part of the rapid sequence intubation (RSI) protocol, which means a medical team is actually trying to keep you alive – they’ve just got to paralyze you do to it.  If you’re being intubated, your airway is blocked and the RSI protocol is employed to get a breathing tube down your throat.  To get this tube in quickly, they’ll paralyze and sedate you.

Sedation means you won’t be conscious when the paralysis sets in.  Respiratory support means something will be breathing for you when the muscles involved in respiration stop working.  In 5 – 10 minutes, a clinical dose of sux wears off as it’s rapidly metabolized by your body.  The sedation will likely last longer.  The goal is that by the time you’re awake, your breathing has been stabilized and perhaps other medical issues have been (or are being) addressed. 

[excerpt from my blog post Killers that sux]

…and if you’ve been injected with sux without respiratory support and sedation?

3. Digoxin


Found in: Suicidesunnoticed homicides, hands of serial killer nurse

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

The heart is a muscle and sometimes it doesn’t work at Optimus Prime levels. Like a stoned dudebro at a DMB concert, sometimes your heart can’t get on the right beat. Digoxin is prescribed at low doses to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). This chemical chills out a speedy heart beat and boosts heart contraction strength.  This all sounds totes awesome, but… too much digoxin causes cardiac arrest which, YIKES!, could kill you.

4. atropine


Found in: The back-pocket of  historical and modern-day poisoners

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

The fact that this chemical is found in a plant called ‘Deadly Nightshade‘ really underlines how fucking scary it is.

The symptoms of atropine poisoning were once summarised in the following way: hot as a hare, blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beetroot, mad as a hatter.

[excerpt from Molecules of Murder: Criminal Molecules and Classic Cases by John Emsley]

Atropine fucks with your body temperature, vision (by causing your pupils to embiggen), salivary glands, blood vessels, and brain. Oh, and your heart. All of this can lead to some real damn unpleasantness, up to – and including – death.  Of course, atropine has been used to help manage certain Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, sort out cardiac arrhythmias, and serve as an antidote to nerve agents like sarin.

In conclusion…


All chemical structures are from ChemSpider
Jay-Z gif is from gifbase
Airplane! gifs from tumblr and persephonemagazine


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