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January 16, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the Division of Surgery, Department of Anesthesia, New York University College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1943;121(3):187-190. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840030025006

A number of fatalities following paraldehyde administration have been reported which invariably have been attributed to an idiosyncrasy. However, analysis of reported autopsy findings, observations in the clinic and laboratory investigations on experimental animals lead to the conclusion that pathologic changes following the intravenous administration of paraldehyde are so definite that its use in this manner is not warranted.

Paraldehyde has gained in popularity because of its convenient applicability to produce unconsciousness. It has been administered orally, rectally and intravenously. The doses recommended have been variable. Indeed there are reports of human tolerance of massive doses. As much as 100 cc. has been ingested with recovery.1 For rectal instillation 30 cc. has been recommended in the average adult.2 Intravenously the injection of fractional doses of 2 to 3 cc. until the desired effect is obtained3 has been advocated. Undoubtedly, rapidity of absorption is a great factor, since