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November 8, 1930


Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn.

JAMA. 1930;95(19):1445. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720190057029

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To the Editor:  —I have recently received from the Stratford-Cookson Company of Philadelphia an advertisement of "Somnoform." The formula given for "Somnoform" is chloride of ethyl, 83 per cent; chloride of methyl, 16 per cent; bromide of ethyl, 1 per cent. Below this formula it is asserted that "the record of Somnoform for safety is without equal." If such is the case the record must be regarded as a pure piece of good fortune, for two at least of the ingredients of "Somnoform" have a toxicity which renders them unfit for use as anesthetics. The poisonous character of methyl chloride has been sufficiently demonstrated by the refrigerator cases in Chicago. Although the amount of ethyl bromide in the mixture is small, there are general grounds for believing that the toxicity of the substance is high. Ethyl chloride is, of course, a commonly used and convenient anesthetic, but it possesses to

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