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April 3, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pharmacology, University of Minnesota Medical School.

JAMA. 1948;136(14):920-923. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890310012005

A new synthetic analgesic, originally prepared by German chemists and known as drug 10820, was made available to this country following World War II. The original report was published by the U. S. Department of Commerce.1 The Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry of the American Medical Association has given this compound the non-proprietary name of methadon.2

The compound is a white crystalline substance soluble in water and alcohol, but insoluble in ether, having the following formula: 6-dimethylamino-4,4-diphenyl-3-heptanone hydrochloride. The compound contains an asymmetric carbon atom and is supplied as the racemic mixture. It is quite possible that the d- and 1- isomers may have different degrees of activity.

A pharmacologic investigation was undertaken by Scott and Chen,3 who reported that the drug had some of the characteristics of both morphine and meperidine hydrochloride ("demerol hydrochloride" N.N.R.) in animals. The effects on the nervous, circulatory and respiratory systems,

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