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To the Editor:—
Unjustified clinical analogies drawn from excellent experimental work in animals may be unfortunate. For instance, an editorial comment in The Journal, March 30, page 1271, summarizes the article "The Placental Transmission of Sulfanilamide and Its Effects on the Fetus and Newborn" by Speert (Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp.66:139 [March] 1940). This experimental work is adequately controlled and clearly demonstrates the toxic effect on the fetus and newborn rat from tremendous doses of sulfanilamide administered during pregnancy. The conclusion "until further observations have been made of the effects of sulfanilamide upon the human fetus, the drug should be administered with extreme caution during pregnancy" is an assumed human analogy not supported by data presented. The dose of 1 Gm. of sulfanilamide per kilogram of body weight administered to animals throughout pregnancy is not comparable to the average clinical dose taken by human beings. On the basis of
Pratt JP, Stewart HL. IS SULFANILAMIDE DANGEROUS TO BABIES?. JAMA. 1940;114(17):1687. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810170083019