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October 23, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Medicine, Northwestern University and St. Joseph Hospital.

JAMA. 1948;138(8):549-551. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900080007002

The evaluation of any therapeutic agent in the treatment of essential hypertension is exceedingly difficult, because there is a tendency for exacerbations and remissions to occur spontaneously. Much has been written about the cures, but little about failure. In recent years thiocyanates have been used enthusiastically. This is an example of a custom, not too rare, of reviving and injecting new enthusiasm into ancient discarded treatments. The story of the thiocyanates began in 1903 with Pauli, who suggested the use of potassium thiocyanate as a hypotensive agent. The drug was little used until Westphal in 1924 presented a favorable report. In a few years the thiocyanates again fell into disrepute because of the frequency of toxic manifestations, until Barker in 1936 controlled the toxic effects by checking the level of thiocyanates in the blood. Since then numerous observers have concluded that the continuous administration of the drug under adequate control

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