When arsphenamin was introduced by Ehrlich, it was stated that the drug was contraindicated if the patient's heart was diseased. Nevertheless, arsphenamin and the allied preparations of arsenic have been widely used in the treatment of patients with known heart disease. Although favorable results have often been achieved, there have been a sufficient number of cases in which untoward effects, often fatal, on the heart have occurred, so that today clinicians of wide experience are cautious in the administration of the newer preparations of arsenic to patients with heart disease. It is not my purpose to discuss the noncardiac toxic reactions of arsphenamin; I am concerned here with those instances in which there is a development of, or an increase in, the degree of heart failure, and especially with the sudden deaths after the injection of the drug, such as that reported by Stokes.1
The principal explanations given for
REID WD. THE MECHANISM OF TOXIC ACTION OF ARSPHENAMIN ON THE HEART. JAMA. 1925;84(12):883–884. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02660380019006
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