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November 30, 1935


JAMA. 1935;105(22):1775-1776. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760480045013

In considering its use for medical purposes, it should be possible to regard alcohol as one would any other therapeutic agent, uninfluenced by views of the use of alcoholic mixtures as a beverage. Although it cannot be doubted that fluids containing alcohol are toxic under certain conditions of dosage, this is not an argument against their use. Almost all drugs are toxic in doses larger than those used for therapeutic measures. Nevertheless, in considering any substance as a therapeutic agent, its physiologic and toxicologic effects must be kept in mind. This is particularly true with respect to alcohol, which, although supplying energy when oxidized, has certain properties, notably its effects on the central nervous system, that militate against its employment.

The ability of the animal body to absorb and oxidize ingested ethyl alcohol was established early.1 There is much controversy, however, regarding the physiologic value of the energy thus