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December 1950


Author Affiliations

From the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1950;44(6):797-812. doi:10.1001/archopht.1950.00910020810003

AMONG the various drugs used in the treatment of disease during the past 15 years, four principal groups stand out as revolutionary: the sulfonamides, the antibiotics, the antihistaminics and the recently developed steroids of the adrenal cortex and their activating hormones from the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. It will be my endeavor to review what is known about the mechanism of action of these drugs and to point out practical applications in the field of ocular therapeutics.

The use of the sulfonamides and the antibiotics to attack pathogenic organisms may seem to be a relatively modern procedure, but actually the principles of chemotherapy are not new. Paul Ehrlich,1 of Germany, formulated them as far back as 1913. He defined chemotherapy as the treatment of parasitic disease by direct chemical attack on the responsible organism with a minimum of damage to the tissues of the host. He showed

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