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History of Neurology
April 2006

The Rise and Fall of Borax as an Antiepileptic Drug

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Kolonien Filadelfia Museum, Dianalund, Denmark.


Copyright 2006 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2006

Arch Neurol. 2006;63(4):621-622. doi:10.1001/archneur.63.4.621

Five hundred eighty-six patients with epilepsy were treated with borax (hydrated sodium tetraborate) between 1912 and 1948 at the Kolonien Filadelfia Epilepsy Hospital, Dianalund, Denmark. A rough estimation shows that less than 5% experienced a more than 50% reduction in the total number of seizures. Charts were reviewed to find a connection between the concept of Bacillus epilepticus (1916) and the so-called renaissance of borax treatment described in 1923, and to find an explanation for the popularity of this seemingly ineffective antiepileptic drug.