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August 11, 1928


JAMA. 1928;91(6):398-399. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02700060032013

The introduction of a new synthetic remedy into therapeutics almost invariably stimulates the search for substitutes with the same advantages and without the disadvantages. Such researches have occasionally resulted in great improvements; for example, the introduction of arsphenamine by Ehrlich, who began with atoxyl. Much more frequently they have resulted in the introduction of substances with minor improvements, such as greater solubility or less disagreeable taste, but without important advantages over those first introduced. By far the greater number of synthetic compounds have had, at most, an ephemeral existence. Many substitutes for barbital, U. S. P., have been introduced with the claim of greater relative hypnotic action as compared with toxic effects. The activity of the derivatives of barbituric acid depends to a great extent on the character of the radical with which the acid is combined. It seems probable, however, that the relative toxicity depends partly on certain physical

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