Last reviewed 01/2018

Arsenic is a trace mineral that is found in physiologically minute quantities within the body. It is not an essential mineral.

Notorious for its toxicity when systemically administered in excessive quantities, its effects include:

  • nause and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • muscular spasm
  • convulsion
  • coma
  • ultimately, death

Arsenic poisoning is countered with the drug dimercaprol.

Arsenic was used to treat syphilis and a range of parasitic diseases.