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February 1928


Author Affiliations

Denver Instructor in Neurology, University of Colorado Medical School and Staff Neurologist, Denver General Hospital

Arch NeurPsych. 1928;19(2):324-328. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1928.02210080126009

An increase in the rate of admissions to hospitals for "barbital poisoning" and an observation of the diagnostic pitfalls and social problems of this condition justify inquiry into the situation. This study is based on the reports of 100 patients, with acute and chronic forms of the poisoning, who were seen consecutively at the Denver General Hospital or in private practice during the last three years.

Barbital [CO(NHCO)2C(C2H5)2], diethyl barbituric acid, is a ureid derived from diethylmalonic acid and urea, which was introduced as a hypnotic in 1903. Under the trade name of veronal it now has a tremendous and increasing lay popularity for self administration. Its habit-forming propensity (barbitalismus or veronalismus) became known shortly after its introduction. This fact alone merits the attention of physicians and of the law. In the United States it is usually sold without restriction, promiscuously, as a "safe" hypnotic. It is efficient, its sales

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