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May 12, 1945


JAMA. 1945;128(2):83-87. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860190019005

During the early clinical trials, Abraham, Florey and their associates,1 investigating the various routes of administration of penicillin, tried the oral route and found that the substance was rapidly destroyed by the hydrochloric acid of the stomach. Their attempts to raise the Ph of the gastric contents by the use of sodium bicarbonate were not particularly successful. While they failed to obtain adequate concentrations in the blood after administering solutions of penicillin orally, they were able to recover satisfactory antibacterial amounts in the urine and by this means successfully treated a urinary tract infection in a 6 month old infant. They suggested the use of capsules, but after unsuccessful attempts with phenyl salicylate coated vehicles, abandoned this method. Rammelkamp and Keefer2 corroborated the previous work of Florey and others1 in demonstrating the inactivation of penicillin by hydrochloric acid. These investigators administered penicillin by the oral, duodenal