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April 1939

PICROTOXIN AS A CONVULSANT IN TREATMENT OF CERTAIN MENTAL ILLNESSES

Author Affiliations

CHICAGO

From the Psychiatric Institute (H. Douglas Singer, Director) of the Research and Educational Hospital, the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Arch NeurPsych. 1939;41(4):747-754. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1939.02270160103008
Abstract

The terror experienced by patients after an intravenous injection of metrazol was an incentive to search for another convulsant which, while sharing the benefits of metrazol (therapeutic potency and lack of serious complications), would eliminate its frightening effect. Dr. R. F. Rice, medical director of Eli Lilly & Company, Indianapolis, suggested the trial of picrotoxin and had the drug tested by animal experimentation for the latitude of its convulsive and lethal effects. Dr. K. K. Chen, who performed the experiments, reported: "The minimal convulsive dose by different routes of injection varied from one half to one third of the minimal lethal dose, a fact which points to comparative safety. A safety measure is also provided in sodium amytal, for when given intravenously it is capable of counteracting the effect of picrotoxin."

In March 1938, 3 deteriorated schizophrenic patients were selected for treatment. By the end of April 1938, a total

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