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February 19, 1955


JAMA. 1955;157(8):654-657. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02950250028008

Many physicians appear to be unaware of the danger of addiction to meperidine. Since numerous inquiries concerning meperidine addiction are received at the U. S. Public Health Service Hospital at Lexington, Ky., and since it has been reported that a large proportion of meperidine addicts are members of the medical or closely allied professions, further investigation of the problem seemed warranted. In 1939 Eisleb and Schaumann1 reported that meperidine possessed definite analgesic and spasmolytic properties. Subsequent papers confirmed these findings. In 1940 clinical communications suggested that meperidine might be habit forming.2 These reports were made by von Brucke2a and Kucher.2b The latter noted withdrawal symptoms when the medicament was withheld and clonic muscular twitching after the administration of large doses. Because of these and similar observations reported in the literature, Himmelsbach,3 on the basis of experiments with former morphine addicts as subjects, found that meperidine