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February 15, 1941


JAMA. 1941;116(7):596. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820070046013

Although some evidence1 tends to show that sulfanilamide is without therapeutic effect (and may even be dangerous) in the treatment of rheumatic fever, the reports of Thomas and France2 in Baltimore and of Coburn and Moore3 in New York have indicated that the drug may be of prophylactic value in preventing the recurrence of rheumatic attacks. Its experimental use for this purpose was based on the series of observations made by Coburn during the past decade, which relate rheumatic activity to the presence of hemolytic streptococcus infections of the rhinopharynx.

Both groups of investigators thought that, if these infections of the throat could be prevented, rheumatic recrudescences might not occur. To accomplish this result, small doses of sulfanilamide were given daily to rheumatic subjects during the period of the year (October to June or July) in which the incidence of streptococcic infections of the pharynx is highest.