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One interesting thing I recently learned is that venom has medical uses that can actually save lives! But from what I see so far this either applies to venoms from creatures that are not fatal to humans or that only proteins or enzymes from these venoms are what is being used medically.

Are these proteins or enzymes themselves fatal to humans or is this just a misrepresentation of the fact that venoms can save human lives?

EDIT: To clarfiy, while I realize venom is harmless in lower doses, I also read the following : Enzymes from cobra venom may be instrumental to finding cures for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. An enzyme derived from copperhead venom could be used to treatment for breast cancer.

What I was not sure of was whether the enzyme by itself was toxic or they were just extracting a non-lethal element of the venom to use medically. Can this enzyme alone of venom administered in large enough doses be fatal?

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    $\begingroup$ Can you specify to which venoms you're referring? Can they not do both under different circumstances? I hardly think anyone is trying to misrepresent anything. $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Mar 16 '15 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I am understanding your question wrong, but venom is only deadly when given in a certain amount. From that point of view, everything can be lethal, even water. This makes the first part of your question shaky. For example, digitalis extracts can save live-threatening heart failure, but in large amounts it can kill. Further, proteins in snake venom are the chief toxins as far as I know. So the second part of your question is unclear. In all, I think the question needs to be specified before it can be answered. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 16 '15 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ You should narrow it down. For example just talk about cobra venom. Different venoms act differently; some are enzymes others are not. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Mar 16 '15 at 8:17

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