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February 24, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(8):679. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810080051026

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To the Editor:—  In The Journal Dec. 30, 1939, page 2422, appears an editorial entitled "Public Interest in Venereal Disease," which states that "the number of doses of the arsenical drugs used for the treatment of syphilis amounted in the last fiscal year to 10,656,253, an increase of 84 per cent over the number of doses of such drugs used in 1933."A cursory examination of these data along with the rules recommended by the U. S. Public Health Service reveals that they are highly commendable, but there is nevertheless a very definite warning which should be incorporated in this advice. At present our knowledge of liver function is adequate to establish the fact that one cannot use arsenic indiscriminately in all cases without occasionally producing liver damage which might subsequently cause serious consequences. In spite of the limited value of the various methods for testing liver function, liver damage

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