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March 11, 1950


JAMA. 1950;142(10):730-731. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910280038010

The striking observations, reported by Hench, Kendall, Slocumb and Polley,1 of alleviation of the symptoms and abnormalities of rheumatoid arthritis by daily administration of 17-hydroxy-11-dehydrocorticosterone, (compound E, cortisone), and of the similar alleviation obtained with pituitary adrenal corticotropic hormone (ACTH), led them and others to inquire whether long-continued treatment with these hormones would give rise to undesirable effects. Especially to be apprehended were the symptoms and metabolic abnormalities of adrenocortical hyperfunction of the type seen in Cushing's syndrome. Hench and his associates mentioned in their first report the development of acne, mild hirsutism, rounding of the facial contour and cessation of menses in 1 arthritic patient given daily doses of 100 mg. of the drug for many weeks. They stated then that more experience was needed before the safety of such treatment could be known. In the meantime, increasing amounts of cortisone and pituitary adrenal corticotropic hormone have become