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September 1949


Author Affiliations

Resident in Medicine, Montefiore Hospital; Director of Anesthesia, Montefiore Hospital PITTSBURGH

From Montefiore Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;84(3):379-388. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00230030021002

INCIDENCE  The POPULARITY of the barbiturates with the medical profession and the laity has contributed greatly to the pronounced rise in the rate of poisonings and deaths due to their use. In 1946 the city hospitals of New York were reporting 1 death every thirtysix hours due to this type of drug.1Of the many barbituric acid derivatives which have been made and introduced to the medical profession, about twenty are used in clinical medicine today. Estimates have indicated that 230,000 pounds of barbiturates were manufactured in 1936, whereas 550,000 pounds, or more than twice as much, were produced in 1945.1 This alone is indicative of the tremendous increase in the use of these drugs.As each new drug is developed and detailed to the medical profession, it tends to enjoy a period of popularity. In 1936, the fashionable drug to use was phenobarbital or pentobarbital sodium; in

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