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December 2, 1933


JAMA. 1933;101(23):1821. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740480051028

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To the Editor:  —In The Journal, November 18, attention was called to the present widespread dissemination of amebiasis. These reports will unquestionably stimulate a careful search for Endamoeba histolytica and, where it is found, call for treatment. Emetine, no doubt, will be one of the drugs used. Attention is drawn to an article I published in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences (129:834 [June] 1930) in which I reported a case of fatal emetine poisoning due to cumulative action. The dose had been considered considerably less than the established minimal lethal dose. The conclusions I reached after a comprehensive survey of the literature were as follows:

  1. There is no established method of administration of emetine that can be accepted with impunity. The drug, being a protoplasmic poison, acts on the host as well as on the parasite.

  2. Conclusions drawn from laboratory animals, owing to differences of species and

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