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June 17, 1961

Further Observations on Penicillinase

Author Affiliations

Washington, D.C.

Supervisory Medical Officer, Venereal Disease Control Program, Division of Chronic and Preventable Diseases, Bureau of Disease Control, D.C. Department of Public Health.

JAMA. 1961;176(11):951-953. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.63040240017020b

THE APPLICATION of the enzyme penicillinase (Neutrapen) as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of penicillin reactions has been reassuring to the patient as well as the physician harassed by penicillin reactions. It has been previously demonstrated that parenteral injection of penicillinase in experimental animals and human subjects given penicillin resulted in rapid disappearance of detectable circulating penicillin.1 However, clinical studies on the therapeutic value of the enzyme are often inconclusive since they frequently rely on improvement of subjective symptoms as their criterion.

A more objective clinical analysis of penicillinase may be made by determining spirochetal protection when penicillin and penicillinase are injected concurrently into syphilitic patients with darkfield positive lesions. It was reasoned that if penicillinase destroys all penicillin, then Treponema pallidum will continue to survive in their chancres or moist eruptions.

Materials and Methods  Patients with early syphilitic lesions luxuriant in T. pallidum were selected for this