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January 21, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(3):165-168. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960380013005

• The passing of red urine, leading to the diagnosis of porphyria, provided the essential clue in three cases marked by attacks of pain and many severe neurotic and psychotic symptoms. In one the abdominal pain had led to a fruitless laparotomy; in another the neuropsychiatric disorder had made institutional care necessary. The patients were all women who had gone through two or more pregnancies.

The etiology of porphyria is uncertain, and treatment is primarily symptomatic. In the present cases, however, barbiturates were possible contributing causes, and treatment by intravenous administration of tetraethylammonium chloride gave encouraging results in one case.