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November 1947

COAL TAR IN DERMATOLOGY: An Improvement in Its Physical Properties Without Any Change in Its Therapeutic Action

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, New York University College of Medicine and the Third (New York University) Medical Division, Bellevue Hospital.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1947;56(5):583-588. doi:10.1001/archderm.1947.01520110029004

MOST dermatologists will agree that crude coal tar is probably the most useful of topical remedies but, at the same time, one of the most difficult to handle pharmaceutically and one of the most disagreeable, both from an esthetic and cosmetic standpoint.1 Ever since its use in the treatment of cutaneous disease was first specifically reported by Fischel2 in 1894 it has been subject to criticism on these accounts, and in consequence has been offered to physicians as a tincture, liquor, filtrate, distillate and fractionate.3 Few of these have proved very useful, and none of them has exhibited therapeutic activity equal to that of total crude coal tar. In every purified product some important ingredient seems to be lacking.

It is not the purpose of this article to discuss the various methods of manufacture of crude tar. Suffice it to say that its composition is dependent primarily

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