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April 30, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLII(18):1145-1146. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490630031006

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The history of the employment of iron in therapeutics is most interesting, and is full of lessons in drug application and their supposed effects. Iron has been used empirically so far back as any definite knowledge of medicine goes. Its medical uses are mentioned by Pliny, who evidently recognized definite indications for its employment. It was employed long before it was known that iron existed in definite quantities in the body, and that the affections in which iron seemed to do good were really those in which there was a marked diminution of the normal amount of iron. There seem to be some grounds for believing that the reason why iron was employed at first was no better than the primitive notion that anemic individuals were weak, and that somehow iron out of its strength supplied them with renewal of vigor.

Therapeutics have been enriched by really efficacious remedies in

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