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February 4, 1950


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

From the Department of Virus and Rickettsial Diseases, Army Medical Department Research and Graduate School, Army Medical Center.

JAMA. 1950;142(5):315-318. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910230017004

It is two years since the first reports appeared dealing with the new antibiotic choloramphenicol (chloromycetin®). These first papers1 described laboratory experiments in which the antibiotic was shown to inhibit the growth in vitro of a wide range of bacteria and, of greater interest at that time, to have a chemotherapeutic effect in a number of experimental rickettsial and virus infections. In addition, chloramphenicol was found to have two other characteristics which promised to make it useful in the treatment of patients. These were (1) its low toxicity for animals and (2) its capacity to elicit as satisfactory results when given by the oral route as by the parenteral route. It was quickly shown that the new drug was essentially nontoxic for normal men and that relatively simple technics revealed the presence of appreciable levels of active drug in the blood and urine of such persons following oral administration

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