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May 22, 1915

Deaths from Laxative Tablets Containing Strychnin

Author Affiliations

Decatur, Ill.

JAMA. 1915;LXIV(21):1781-1782. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570470065029

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To the Editor:  —The coroner of Macon County reports four deaths of children in the last four years from eating laxative tablets containing strychnin; in addition to this I have knowledge of several other near deaths from the same cause. If this is the report for one county in Illinois, what must be the fatalities in the United States where the use of the favorite "A. S. B." and the "Hinkle" tablet, each containing 1/60 grain of strychnin, is so common?The red color of the Hinkle tablet is especially attractive to children, and in one of the fatal cases reported, the victim had eaten fifteen of these tablets; the poison or caution label on the box had no deterrent effect on either the child or the careless mother. The thought occurred to me, Why put strychnin in laxative tablets, and of what value is strychnin in these combinations? Admitting

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