Although the use of salvarsan, first introduced as a therapia sterilisans magna in syphilis, has been somewhat of a disappointment as such, its influence on certain non-syphilitic diseases has been so pronounced that it is being used in an ever-increasing number of diseases, with the idea of enlarging its sphere of usefulness. So far as I know, however, no attempt has been made to use this drug on the basis of the relationship of the physiologic action of salvarsan to the etiology, pathology and manifestations of the disease treated. One can hardly call the treatment empiric. It has been used with the idea of what result will be obtained, rather than what result should be obtained.
In the fall of 1910, shortly after the introduction of salvarsan in the Kings County Hospital we noticed the coincident improvement of the tuberculosis in several cases of syphilis complicated by this disease. This
BEST WH. THE USE OF SALVARSAN IN NON-SYPHILITIC DISEASES. JAMA. 1914;LXIII(5):375–380. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570050011004
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