The death of a 23-year-old man resulting from digoxin-like toxicity and heart failure was attributed to ingestion of a West Indian aphrodisiac known as “Love Stone.” GC/MS analyses identified bufotenine, a controlled substance under both US and New York State statutes. In addition, a series of bufadienolides, namely resibufogenin, bufalin, and cinobufagin, were also identified. Bufadienolides, which are derived from toad venom or secretions, are cardiotonic steroids that cause symptoms similar to digoxin. GC/MS analyses of the Chinese medication “Chan Su,” a product derived from toads, produced a highly similar elution profile and contained the same compounds as “Love Stone.” The data demonstrate that the aphrodisiac was also derived from toads.
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