One of the fundamental requisites in the rational, as contrasted with the purely empiric, use of drugs is a knowledge of precisely what happens to them in the organism, as well as of what pharmacologic effects they exert. In the long run, the influence of a potent substance may depend not only on its immediate manifestations but also on delayed reactions due to accumulations of an active compound. Some foreign substances are very promptly excreted; others tend to be stored to a greater or less extent, so that they can manifest cumulative effects; still others are in some measure destroyed within the organism. Scientific therapy must be based on a knowledge of the fate of the drugs that it employs.
The older literature on the salicylates, one of the most widely used groups of therapeutic agents, gives the impression that the salicyl radical leaves the body virtually unchanged.3 According
THE FATE OF SALICYLATES IN THE BODY. JAMA. 1919;73(17):1289. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610430037016
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