What is potassium synide

Potassium cyanidePharmaWikiKotassium cyanide, the potassium salt of hydrogen cyanide, is a strong and rapidly acting poison. The lethal dose for adults is in the range of 100 to 300 mg. Potassium cyanide is also known as potassium cyanide. Its effects are based on the inhibition of the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase in the respiratory chain in the mitochondria. This blocks the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

synonymous: potassium cyanide, Kalii cyanidum, potassium cyanide, KCN, potassium cyanatum

Structure and properties

Potassium Cyanide (KCN, Mr = 65.1 g / mol) is the potassium salt of hydrocyanic acid (HCN) and is a white, crystalline solid that is easily soluble in water. Potassium cyanide has a pungent taste and smells like bitter almonds. Great care must be taken when handling the substance, as it can quickly lead to poisoning.

Structure: K+CN-


Potassium cyanide is a very strong poison which, at a dose of 100 to 300 milligrams, causes death quickly - within minutes to hours. Various antidotes such as hydroxocobalamin, amyl nitrite, sodium nitrite, and sodium thiosulfate are used to treat poisoning.

The effects are based on the inhibition of the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondria. This blocks the respiratory chain and inhibits the formation of the energy carrier ATP.

Potassium cyanide was previously used as a drug, but is now obsolete and should not be used medicinally. There are technical applications, for example gold mining.


Cyanides have been used in the past for suicides, as weapons of war and for murders.

see also

Amyl nitrite

  • Gracia R., Shepherd G. Cyanide poisoning and its treatment. Pharmacotherapy, 2004, 24 (10), 1358-65 Pubmed
  • Hager's Handbook of Pharmaceutical Practice
  • Hamel J. A review of acute cyanide poisoning with a treatment update. Crit Care Nurse, 2011, 31 (1), 72-81 Pubmed
  • Textbooks and manuals in toxicology
  • swell

Conflicts of Interest: None / Independent. The author has no relationships with the manufacturers and is not involved in the sale of the products mentioned.

additional Information
Support PharmaWiki with a donation!

© PharmaWiki 2007-2021 - PharmaWiki provides independent and reliable information about medication and health.
This article was last changed on December 1st, 2017.
Imprint and data protection declaration
Show products for this page