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September 3, 1938

PATHOLOGIC EFFECTS OF ELIXIR OF SULFANILAMIDE (DIETHYLENE GLYCOL) POISONINGA CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL CORRELATION: FINAL REPORT

Author Affiliations

CHICAGO

From the Departments of Pharmacology and of Pathology, the University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1938;111(10):919-926. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.72790360005007
Abstract

During the months of September and October 1937 at least seventy-six1 human beings in various localities died as a result of poisoning by Elixir of Sulfanilamide-Massengill.2 By analysis,3 the A. M. A. Chemical Laboratory found this preparation to be essentially a 10 per cent solution of sulfanilamide in about 72 per cent diethylene glycol, together with some coloring and flavoring agents. There were no contaminants such as mercury, the effects of which might have resembled the clinical symptoms produced by the elixir. Apparently the makers of this product were unaware of its possible toxicity and distributed it freely without having tested it adequately on animals. It had not been submitted to the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry of the American Medical Association nor did the Food and Drug Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture know of its composition. Newspaper reports of deaths from this "new

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