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Oscar-Nominated True Grit Gets Top Reviews for Acting but Mixed Reviews for Snakebite Treatment

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Feb. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Confronting a rattler may be a minor challenge for Rooster Cogburn in the Coen brothers' Oscar-nominated remake of True Grit, but proper handling of poor Mattie's snakebite was a major ordeal in the old West.  The tough-as-nails U.S. Marshall unknowingly perpetuates Hollywood myth by doing precisely the opposite of proper snakebite protocol, although the hero does get it right when it comes to the need for speed in seeking immediate treatment.

Cutting the skin ("X marks the spot") to suck or bleed out the poison, applying a tourniquet, bandage or pressure, and drinking alcohol not only don't help, but may cause added harm by further damaging tissue.

Despite all of the folklore, the only correct response to poisonous snakebite is to seek emergency care.  Remain calm and call 911 or your local poison control center at (800) 222-1222.  Snakebite treatment is best left to the experts! So it is imperative to get to an appropriate hospital or emergency center as quickly as possible.

Above all, do not attempt to capture the snake, which could very well result in a second bite. CroFab® Crotalidae Polyvalent Immune Fab (ovine) is an intravenous medicine, usually administered in the hospital emergency room, that is approved to treat venomous snakebites from North American pit vipers.  Pit viper snakes include rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths/water moccasins.  BTG International Inc. markets and distributes CroFab® to hospitals in the United States.

"Although nowadays we don't cut and suck snakebites like the cowboys used to do, Rooster knew the best thing for Mattie was to get her to a doctor as fast as he could," said Sean Bush, MD,  Professor of Emergency Medicine at Loma Linda School of Medicine in Loma Linda, CA.  "The same is true today.  The difference now is that there is a treatment to prevent the progression of a venomous pit viper bite."

About CroFab®

CroFab® Crotalidae Polyvalent Immune Fab (ovine) is an antivenom used for the management of patients with North American crotalid envenomation.  Crotalid snakes include rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths/water moccasins.  This antidote is appropriate for use in the great majority of U.S. snakebites, outside of the coral snake.  Early use of CroFab® (within 6 hours of snakebite) is advised to prevent a patient's clinical deterioration and the occurrence of systemic blood-clotting (coagulation) abnormalities.

Important Safety Information

The most common adverse events reported in clinical studies were mild or moderate reactions involving the skin and appendages (primarily urticaria, rash, or pruritus), which occurred in 14 out of 42 patients. Three patients experienced a serious adverse event. Two patients had a severe allergic reaction (severe hives and a severe rash and pruritus) following treatment.  One patient had a recurrent coagulopathy due to envenomation, which required rehospitalization and additional antivenom administration.  In clinical trials, recurrent coagulopathy (the return of a coagulation abnormality after it has been successfully treated with antivenom), characterized by decreased fibrinogen, decreased platelets, and elevated prothrombin time, occurred in approximately half of the patients studied.  Recurrent coagulopathy may persist for 1 to 2 weeks or more.  One patient discontinued CroFab® therapy due to an allergic reaction.  Patients with allergies to papain, chymopapain, other papaya extracts, or the pineapple enzyme bromelain may also be at risk for an allergic reaction to CroFab®.  

For CroFab® full prescribing information, visit:

About Poison Control Centers

The American Association of Poison Control Centers works to support the nation's 60 poison centers in the valuable work they do. America's poison centers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you. The phone number 1-800-222-1222 will connect you to your local poison center anywhere in the United States. The call is free, confidential, and answered by medical professionals.

About BTG

BTG is an international specialist healthcare company that is developing and commercializing products targeting critical care, cancer and other disorders.  The company is seeking to acquire new products to develop and market to specialist physicians, and is building a sustainable business financed by revenues from sales of its own marketed products and from royalties and milestone payments on partnered products. For further information, visit:

SOURCE BTG International Inc.
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