Up to the present time, most of the substances administered by inunction to human beings and animals for therapeutic or experimental purposes have been drugs. These have varied from such simple elements as mercury, lead and arsenic to more complex substances, such as alkaloids, histamine and the essential oils. Recently endocrine substances, vitamins, toxins, antitoxins and bacterial vaccines have also been administered percutaneously by inunction, with variable results.
The procedures employed by different observers to determine percutaneous absorption have at times been complicated. Some investigators have relied on prolonged clinical observations of the pharmacologic, toxic or therapeutic effects of the applied agent to establish its absorption. Others have performed extensive chemical examinations of blood, urine or tissues to detect the presence of the absorbed substance. Immunologic methods have also been employed to show the absorption of antigens through the skin. These have included the formation of specific antibodies, the anaphylactic
WALZER A. CUTANEOUS ABSORPTION: I. A DIRECT TECHNIC FOR DEMONSTRATING THE PERCUTANEOUS ABSORPTION OF ANTIGENS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1940;41(4):692–698. doi:10.1001/archderm.1940.01490100056010
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