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July 20, 1940


JAMA. 1940;115(3):221. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810290051016

In spite of repeated warnings against the use of abortifacient pastes, physicians continue to write to The Journal requesting information about such substances. These inquirers have concerned themselves mainly with two products—Leunbach's Paste and Interferin. The Bureau of Investigation of the American Medical Association1 disclosed that Leunbach's Paste is prepared from a number of substances alleged to include potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, iodine and potassium iodide in an olive oil and cacao butter base. Interferin is claimed to be a paste containing iodine. Such pastes have achieved some degree of popularity in Europe, principally in Germany. Numerous reports have indicated, however, that insertion into the uterus of such pastes has resulted frequently in infections and fatalities. Furthermore, laboratory animals treated with such pastes frequently become poisoned and, in a significant percentage, die.

A recent editorial2 again emphasized the danger involved in the use of abortifacient pastes. Nevertheless, numerous