WHEN Ehrlich introduced arsphenamine (N. N. R.) in 1909 it was his sincere hope that syphilis could be cured with a single injection of the drug. It soon became apparent that one injection was woefully inadequate and, moreover, that three, six or even more injections failed to yield the desired result. With the introduction of bismuth as a powerful ally, the campaign against syphilis moved closer to its goal.
Two decades after Ehrlich's discovery, following the admirable work of the Clinical Cooperative Group,1 it was generally recognized that the use of alternating courses of the arsenicals and bismuth preparations, given continuously over a period of approximately twelve to eighteen months, in a large percentage of cases, gave the result which Ehrlich had sought in vain.
In the early 1930's, a group of physicians2 once again envisioned the possibility of eradicating syphilis in a short time by utilizing an
BUNDESEN HN, LOEWE L, CRAIG RM, SCHWEMLEIN GX, BARTON RL, BAUER TJ. THERAPY OF EARLY SYPHILIS WITH MASSIVE DOSES OF PENICILLIN. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1947;56(3):339–343. doi:10.1001/archderm.1947.01520090059006
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.