In a case of tincture of cantharides poisoning which recently came under our observation,1 a pronounced polycythemia was discovered. Inasmuch as this is a hitherto undescribed phenomenon following the introduction of cantharides into the body, and in order to eliminate any possible error in technic, we determined to study experimentally the effect of cantharides on the blood. Though there are some substances said to produce an increase in the number of red corpuscles, it is questionable whether any of them has been proved to produce an absolute and lasting polycythemia.
Lamson,2 experimenting with epinephrin, was able to produce a rapid increase in the number of red corpuscles, but concluded that this was due to its specific action on the liver, causing a diminution in its size and a constriction of the hepatic capillaries. He, however, believes that when epinephrin is injected into the portal vein contraction of the liver capillaries
LIPSITZ ST, FUERTH AL, CROSS AJ. POLYCYTHEMIA INDUCED BY TINCTURE OF CANTHARIDESPRELIMINARY REPORT. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1917;XX(6):913–918. doi:10.1001/archinte.1917.00090060087008