October 27, 1956


Author Affiliations

West Haven, Conn.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, and Chief, Neurology Section, Veterans Administration Hospital (Dr. Levy). Clinical Fellow in Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine (Dr. Duke).

JAMA. 1956;162(9):882-884. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.72970260001010

Urethan (ethyl carbamate) has been used as an anesthetic agent in experimental animals for many years. It has the advantage of producing satisfactory anesthesia without respiratory depression. This property has been put to use in obstetrics.1 Observations of its effect on the hemopoietic system and mitotic cells has led to its use in the treatment of leukemia2 and other malignant diseases.3 The cytotoxic action of urethan can be responsible for renal and hepatic damage in addition to bone-marrow depression and sedation. Nausea, vomiting, and anorexia are undesirable side-effects. Reports by Weinstein4 and Howe5 on bacteriostatic action indicate its value in the treatment of wounds and burns. Howe,6 reporting on the toxic effects of topically applied urethan in 67 patients, found no hematological changes or evidence of liver damage. The amounts used ranged from 30 to 600 cc. of 10% solution daily for 2 to

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