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February 11, 1974

Medical News

JAMA. 1974;227(6):601-609. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230190001001

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Meeting on DMSO reveals studies of old 'wonder drug' are resuming  Even its most enthusiastic promoters concede that dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), the drug that slips through the dermal barrier with remarkable ease, was probably discovered and used too soon.If it had come along later, when standards for clinical trials were a little more strict, perhaps it would have fared better.Perhaps.Partly, it was a case of bad luck. Somewhere back there in the 1960s, there came to be too much talk about this "wonder drug"—and too little carefully controlled experimentation. At one point, a single pharmaceutical company had the drug in the hands of 553 clinical investigators; more than 100,000 patients are estimated to have received DMSO in 1964 and 1965. Word got out, and people began rubbing the industrial grade of DMSO (also used as a solvent of paints and plastics) on their skin for a variety of ailments