Novasurol, mercuricoxyacetobarbital, contains 33.9 per cent of mercury and is prepared in a 10 per cent aqueous solution. It was introduced in 1917 as an antisyphilitic. Voigt1 and Levy-Lenz2 in 1920 summarized its effect in syphilis. Compounds of mercury, principally calomel, have always ranked high among the diuretics. Increase in urination was early noted with novasurol, and in 1920 attention was called to this effect by Saxl and Heilig.3 They found marked polyuria and a quantitative increase in the excretion of sodium chloride, both of which could be stopped by the use of atropine. They believed the effect was secondary to hydremia.
Brunn4 in 1921 gave normal persons 1 or 2 liters of salt water before injection of novasurol, and obtained the same results as in cases of syphilitic myocarditis with decompensation, namely, great augmentation of the urinary total. At necropsy of the syphilitic cases, he noted no renal lesions.
SERBY AM. THE PHARMACOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS OF NOVASUROL. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1926;38(3):374-384. doi:10.1001/archinte.1926.00120270097008