Recently a communication1 was published in The Journal attributing the sudden death of 3 patients with congestive heart failure to the intravenous injection of a mercurial diuretic. The publication of this statement stimulated a review of the toxic manifestations and the fatalities that have been reported in connection with these widely used agents. In this issue of The Journal appear four reports.2 The completeness with which consideration is given to various phases of the problem lends to this group of papers the aspect of a symposium. They should focus the attention of the medical profession on the need for care in the use of mercurial diuretics.
While the frequency of fatal accidents due to the mercurial itself is probably higher than has been supposed, the mortality attributable to the mercurial diuretics by any mechanism does not appear to be greater than, if indeed as great as, that reported
TOXICITY OF MERCURIAL DIURETICS. JAMA. 1942;119(13):1026–1027. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830300038013