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April 29, 1950


Author Affiliations


From the Hematology Laboratory and the Hektoen Institute for Medical Research of the Cook County Hospital.

JAMA. 1950;142(17):1333-1335. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910350003002

Profound hemopoietic changes have been observed in patients who have received chloramphenicol (chloromycetin®) therapy. Streptomyces venezuelae, from which the agent is derived, was isolated and its antibiotic activity demonstrated by Burkholder and others in 1947.1 In the same year, Ehrlich and his co-workers1 extended the studies and prepared the compound in crystalline form. Payne and collaborators2 first employed the drug clinically in typhus fever in 1948. Chloramphenicol is well absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract, blood levels after oral ingestion of the drug begin comparable to those obtained by parenteral administration.3 It is excreted largely in the urine, appreciable amounts being found within one-half hour after a single oral dose, and maximal urinary concentrations occur between two and eight hours. Eighty to 92 per cent of the total amount administered is excreted within twenty-four hours.1

In the experiments of Smith and his associates4 varying

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