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March 6, 1978

Laetrile Toxicity Studies in Dogs

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine (Messrs Schmidt, Newton, and Sanders, and Dr Lewis), and the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (Dr Conn), University of California, Davis.

JAMA. 1978;239(10):943-947. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280370039021

Dogs were fed laetrile and fresh, sweet almonds under various conditions. The doses of laetrile were similar to those prescribed for patients with cancer and ranged on a basis of gram to square meter from an equivalent of the oral dose for man to five times this dose. Six of the ten dogs died of cyanide poisoning. One dog recovered, and three dogs, at the time of sacrifice, demonstrated various levels of neurologic impairment, ranging from difficulty in walking to coma. These studies demonstrate that oral laetrile is highly toxic when taken with some common table foods. We predict that there will be an increased incidence of cyanide poisoning in man as laetrile becomes more readily available.

(JAMA 239:943-947, 1978)