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July 31, 1937


Author Affiliations

Instructor, Department of Internal Medicine; Resident, Department of Internal Medicine; Chief Pharmacist, University Hospital ANN ARBOR, MICH.

From the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School.

JAMA. 1937;109(5):328-330. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780310006003

Picrotoxin was discovered by Boulay in 18121 but it was not until 1847 that a rational use for it was suggested by Tschudi,2 when he expressed the opinion that it might be a suitable antagonist to morphine. In 1875 J. Crichton Browne3 published a series of papers in the British Medical Journal dealing exhaustively with the pharmacology of the drug and in particular suggested its use in the treatment of chloral hydrate poisoning. A review of the subsequent literature gives little evidence that picrotoxin enjoyed any popularity in these connections. However, in recent years it has once more received attention following the proposal of Maloney, Fitch and Tatum4 that the drug be used as an antidote in barbiturate poisoning.

RECENT LITERATURE  Having demonstrated in their first paper4 that picrotoxin was of value in antidoting poisoning by the shorter acting barbiturates, Maloney and Tatum5 in