October 17, 1990

Informing Physicians About Promising New Treatments for Severe Disease

Author Affiliations

Los Alamos Medical Center New Mexico

Los Alamos Medical Center New Mexico

JAMA. 1990;264(15):1947. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450150045021

To the Editor.—  In addition to its relevance regarding treatment, the article by Drs Steinbrook and Lo1 is timely in regard to the issue of the dissemination of other medical intelligence to physicians. The spread of information after the recent discovery of the association between tryptophan use and the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome is illustrative. After our initial report to the Centers for Disease Control and the New Mexico Department of Health and Environment on October 26, 1989, an article headlined "Three N.M. Women Contract Unusual Medical Syndrome" appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on November 7, 1989. Word quickly spread across the nation by means of newspaper reports. On November 11, 1989, after 55 cases had been reported in nine states, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers temporarily to stop using tryptophan; on November 14, 1989, New Mexico banned the sale of the substance. Although a report2 appeared