(Science: chemical) toxic compound from the spanish fly or blistering beetle (lytta (cantharis) vesicatoria) and other insects. It was formerly an irritant, vesicant, and rubefacient paste of whole insects called cantharides. It is now used to produce skin inflammation. It causes gastroenteritis, nephritis, and circulatory failure if absorbed.
Pharmacological action: irritants.
chemical name: 4,7-Epoxyisobenzofuran-1,3-dione, hexahydro-3a,7a-dimethyl-, (3aalpha,4beta,7beta,7aalpha)-