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September 29, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(5):332-333. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860390018004

Many indispensable drugs are known to be dangerous when used in improper dose or by unusual routes of administration—digitalis, iodine and others immediately come to mind as illustrations. Certain toxic drugs— arsenicals, for example—continue in use because of their effectiveness and because nontoxic substitutes of proved effectiveness are lacking. It cannot sensibly be argued that an effective drug should be dropped from use simply because the occasional patient reacts unfavorably to the ordinary dose or because untoward reactions follow the accidental administration of an excessive dose. When, however, a drug can be shown to be almost entirely ineffective and at the same time dangerous even when used in ordinary ways, it is time to remove that drug from general use as rapidly as possible. Boric acid is such a drug.

Search of medical literature reveals many instances of accidental poisoning with boric acid and not a few following its calculated

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