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July 1977

A Substitute for Chloroform in Prescriptions

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(7):982. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640070116020

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To the Editor.—  I have just recently learned that the Food and Drug Administration has issued a ban on the use of chloroform in prescriptions. Several letters from dermatologists have already been received asking me to suggest a substitute for it in the prescription advocated in the article that I contributed to the Archives on the treatment of paronychia and onycholysis (92:726-730, 1965).I recommended highly the technique of "absolute, continuous dryness" accomplished in general by avoidance of water, including liquid food materials, lotions, and ointments. Only of secondary importance medication with thymol was suggested because of its antibiotic efficacy against all fungi and bacteria. Chloroform was selected as the solvent vehicle because it is nonpolar (not miscible with water) and of specific gravity much more than water. It was the favorite of Hiram Miller (as well as Howard Morrow long before him), and they used 5% chrysarobin dissolved in

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