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October 7, 1974

Sodium Salicylate for Arthritis

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee

JAMA. 1974;230(1):37. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240010021015

To the Editor.—  On reading the comments on new drugs supplementing aspirin in treating arthritis (229:505, 1974), no mention was made of sodium salicylate in the treatment of inflammatory arthritis. It seems to have been forgotten that prior to the introduction of aspirin into therapy in 1899, sodium salicylate was successfully employed in treating acute rheumatic fever and also inflammatory rheumatism. No satisfactory explanation has ever been offered why aspirin has so completely replaced sodium salicylate in therapy.At the International Symposium on Salicylates in 1962,1 it was stated that sodium salicylates possess certain unpleasant side effects, notably gastric disturbance, and that many patients develop a strong aversion to the tests. This has not been my experience, either in years of experimental study nor in the clinical employment of sodium salicylate.The acetylation of salicylic acid, which produces aspirin, definitely potentiates the analgesic action of salicylic acid, thus making