Is a protein toxin that is derived from castor oil seeds. It inhibits protein synthesis and has widespread toxic effects on the body. These include damage to most organ systems and a combination of pulmonary, liver, renal and immunological failure may lead to death. No antidote is known: treatment can only be supportive.

Clinical features of ricin:

The effects of exposure to ricin may be delayed for some hours after exposure and patients who develop a fever may consult their own doctors.

A full range of guidance on ricin and other chemical and biological agents on the PHLS website.

Content by Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan. Published 11/03/2004. Reviewed by Dr ÍOS 01/05/2005, 01/09/2006, 26/11/2007. Last review Dr ÍÓS 3/12/18.