Since the introduction of tryparsamide as a therapeutic agent in human trypanosomiasis by Pearce,1 numerous articles have been published on its advantages and untoward effects in treating neurosyphilis. Practically every writer has mentioned certain adverse manifestations on the visual apparatus, varying from mild subjective symptoms to blindness.
The experimental study by Young and Loevenhart2 on the toxicity of various arsenical drugs with reference to the visual apparatus explains the cause for bad results in the use of tryparsamide as well as atoxyl from which it is derived. They showed that arsenicals with an amino group, or a substituted amino group, in a para position to the arsenic produce optic nerve lesions in the rabbit. Organic arsenicals with the amino group, or substituted amino group, in the ortho or meta position to the arsenic produce no optic nerve lesions. Obviously, the valence of the arsenic in this group is
CADY LD, ALVIS BY. THE USE OF TRYPARSAMIDE IN PATIENTS WITH AND WITHOUT OCULAR LESIONS. JAMA. 1926;86(3):184–186. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02670290024009
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