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June 15, 1940

Current Comment

JAMA. 1940;114(24):2391. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810240045014

HYPERTENSION AND THE THIOCYANATES  As early as 1903 it was known that the continued administration of the thiocyanates is often effective in reducing hypertension. Because of toxic reactions, interest in the therapy was not strong until 1925, when Westphal reintroduced the subject. Although some investigators have felt them to be of value, others have regarded them as useless and dangerous. In 1929 the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry reported the evidence for the value of the thiocyanates to be far from conclusive; moreover, their use seemed to be definitely contraindicated in acute inflammation of all types, in nephritis and in severe renal insufficiency. In many cases of hypertension the production of lowered pressures does more harm than good. Since that report, the Council's attention has been drawn to such toxic reactions as cutaneous eruptions, vertigo, gastro-intestinal upsets, weakness of the arms and legs and mental manifestations. A recent communication1