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February 26, 1927


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pharmacology, Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1927;88(9):623-626. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680350007003

Raw eggs, egg white and milk have a traditional reputation in the treatment of poisoning by mercuric chloride. They form precipitates with the mercuric salts which delay the absorption of the mercury and hinder the solution of the solid tablets. They also act as demulcents, tending to protect the gastric mucosa against contact with the poison, and therefore against the local corrosion and against absorption. It is true that the absorption is only delayed, not prevented. If further treatment is not given, and if the mercury remains in the body, death occurs with the same dose of mercury, whether milk and egg are administered or not, in contrast to the phosphite antidote which reduces the mercury to harmless, insoluble compounds that need not be evacuated.1 The phosphite antidote therefore deserves preference, if it is immediately available. However, the value of the protein antidote would be much greater in clinical

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