Objective: To test the effectiveness of L. hasseltii (redback spider) antivenom in neutralizing the lethal effects oft. hesperus and L. mactans (North American black widow) venoms. Methods: LD50 values for the L. hesperus and L. mactans venom preparations were determined. A prospective, randomized, double-blind antivenom efficacy experiment was then performed for each venom using a mouse envenomation model. The following treatments were premixed and incubated at 25 degreesC for 1 hour prior to intraperitoneal injection: 1) saline control + protein control, 2) saline control + L. hasseltii antivenom, 3) L. hesperus or L. mactans venom + protein control, and 4) L. hesperus or L. mactans venom + L. hasseltii antivenom. The study endpoints were time elapsed until death and survival at 24 hours. Results. The mouse LD50 values for L. hesperus and L. mactans venoms were 0.64 mg/kg and 0.26 mg/kg, respectively. In the efficacy trial, all mice in group 3 (L. hesperus or L. mactans venom and protein control) died. In both experiments, all mice in group 4 (L. hesperus or L. mactans venom + antivenom) survived (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: This is the first study to derive mouse LD50 values for L. hesperus and L. mactans venom obtained by electrical stimulation of live adult spiders. Redback spider antivenom is effective in neutralizing the lethal effects of L hesperus and L. mactans venoms in a mouse envenomation model. While this study is limited by the optimized premixing of antigen with antibody, it generates the hypothesis that redback antivenom would be effective in the treatment of lactrodectism in humans caused by the two clinically relevant species of North American widow spiders.