When the epidemic of syphilis reached the continent late in the fifteenth century, physicians were loath to treat patients who had the disease, because they knew nothing about it. Up to this time and for centuries later, the practice of medicine was more or less a matter of empiricism. Consequently, the sufferers fell into the hands of charlatans, until from shame the ethical practitioners were forced to treat persons with this malady.
DRUGS USED AND METHODS OF THEIR ADMINISTRATION
In 1497, Jean di Vigo, supported by others, recommended the use of mercury, and from this time on the therapy of syphilis has had a never ending motif.Physicians advocating the use of mercury were deeply impressed by the success of their remedy, while their opponents were as deeply impressed by its failure. Such a period of therapeutic hysteria then supervened that the use of mercury was practically discarded for