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December 1933


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pharmacology, University of Southern California.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1933;28(6):841-842. doi:10.1001/archderm.1933.01460060078013

Unpublished rumors that certain patients presented symptoms of arsenic poisoning during treatment with bismuth preparations led to the investigation the results of which are reported herewith. Eleven bismuth preparations used for the treatment of syphilis were obtained from the respective manufacturers and distributors. A number of concerns sent a sample of each of from two to four lots, so that in all twenty-four samples were tested.

Each sample was digested with nitric acid and sulphuric acid and then tested by the standard Bragg-Gutzeit method for arsenic.

It is apparent from the table that no preparation contained an amount of arsenic sufficient to cause symptoms. Different lots of the same preparation varied in their arsenic content. This is noteworthy, and suggests the importance of the manufacturer's testing each lot of the drug before placing it on the market. It is conceivable that without such a test samples may be dispensed which