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December 6, 1947


JAMA. 1947;135(14):901-903. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02890140021005

The increased use of urethane in leukemia and malignant neoplasia warrants a word of caution. The available reports are chiefly in the British and German journals, and represent an optimistic view as to the future of urethane therapy. Urethane is a valuable addition to treatment, but is more toxic in leukemia than previously noted.

PHARMACOLOGY  Urethane (ethyl carbamate) (C2H5OCONH2) forms odorless, colorless crystals or scales with a slight salty or bitter taste. It is very soluble in alcohol (1:0.8) and water (1: 0.45). Sollmann1 stated that its hypnotic action is feeble and that patients soon become "immune." Its use has been principally limited to laboratory animals, in which it causes rapid and profound narcosis. The mild diuretic action is of little importance in man. After large doses, the carbon dioxidethreshold is raised; consumption of oxygen is lowered; output of phenolsulfonphthalein is decreased; hyperglycemia is