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April 22, 1944


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1944;124(17):1219-1220. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850170055019

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To the Editor:—  With the increasing use of the synthesis of hippuric acid as a test of liver function, the toxicity of sodium benzoate requires careful revaluation. Recently Kinsey and Wright (J. Lab. & Clin. Med.29:188 [Feb.] 1944) reported that, after a patient recovering from a serious attack of hepatitis had taken the usual dose of 6 Gm. of sodium benzoate as used in the test, a strong reaction ensued: severe substernal pain, shock, increased icterus and later granulocytopenia and eosinophilia. To my knowledge this is the first severe reaction from sodium benzoate reported in the literature, although I have been informed of several cases in which untoward reactions to this drug were shown.Sodium benzoate, generally speaking, is one of the most innocuous drugs known. Some of the older clinicians, Senator, for instance, gave doses of 12 Gm. daily to their rheumatic patients. Several investigators reported taking

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