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August 3, 1946


Author Affiliations

Dallas, Texas.

JAMA. 1946;131(14):1170. doi:10.1001/jama.1946.02870310066020

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To the Editor:—  The problem of acute barbiturate poisoning is admittedly a serious one throughout the nation. The recent article by Drs. A. W. Freireich and J. W. Landsberg (The Journal June 22) entitled "Amphetamine (Benzedrine) Sulfate for Acute Barbiturate Poisoning" prompts me to offer these observations and one suggestion.History of dosage or even of the particular barbiturate involved is notoriously unreliable, particularly in suicide attempts. The time elapsing between ingestion and admission to a hospital or observation is important but frequently impossible to determine. The degree of depression present on initial observation is difficult to assess accurately by physical examination. The majority of patients will recover spontaneously without specific antagonistic drug therapy. Those who have had a "lethal" dose, i. e. who would not recover without specific drug therapy, should if possible be capable of distinction from those who may appear to be comparably depressed but have actually

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