The article by S. T. Lipsitz1 and collaborators on polycythemia induced by cantharis attracted our attention, inasmuch as it bore on a problem under consideration in this laboratory. Since the physiologic action of cantharides tincture has not been made clear by the work just referred to, and we could find nothing in the literature to elucidate this matter, we decided to perform experiments with this substance.
Lipsitz discovered in a case of acute cantharis poisoning which came under his observation a marked polycythemic condition. He and his collaborators have extended their investigation of this interesting phenomenon to animals. In this way they corroborated the observation that the administration of cantharis induces a lasting polycythemia. The question of the causation of this polycythemia, however, received no answer from their study. Several possibilities may be considered in this connection. The polycythemia may have resulted from vasomotor changes whereby an extra amount of
MORGULIS S, MUIRHEAD AL. THE PHYSIOLOGIC ACTION OF CANTHARIS. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1919;23(2):190–196. doi:10.1001/archinte.1919.00090190060006