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February 10, 1945

THE USE AND ABUSE OF NASAL VASOCONSTRICTOR MEDICATIONS

JAMA. 1945;127(6):307-310. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860060005002
Abstract

No class of drugs is more widely distributed and used than are nasal vasoconstrictors. This is due to advertising of "patent" nostrums in press and radio, to exploitation of new compounds to the profession by pharmaceutical houses and to wide prescription of these drugs by physicians. Tabulation reveals that there are nationally distributed at least 240 nasal vasoconstrictor compounds in the form of drops, sprays, inhalants and ointments. It is timely to question whether the increased use of vasoconstrictors is justifiable and whether there are not disadvantages inherent in these drugs which demand a reappraisal of the indications for their use. Since sympathomimetic compounds are the basis of nasal vasoconstrictor medication, this discussion is limited to their consideration. The first of these drugs to be isolated was the alkaloid ephedrine1 in 1887. It was recovered from the herb ma huang, an old Chinese drug used empirically by Chinese physicians

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