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November 1958

Oral Hypoglycemic Agents Past and Present: Other Than Sulfonylurea Compounds

Author Affiliations


Director of Medicine, Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital, Brooklyn, and Clinical Professor of Medicine, State University of New York College of Medicine, New York City.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;102(5):830-840. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260220146019

The successful introduction of the hypoglycemic sulfonylureas has aroused new interest in the attempts of the past to develop oral antidiabetic agents and has stimulated a new search for other substances with similar action. A historical review of this long series of failures and near successes would probably have little more than academic interest if it did not illustrate at the same time the vagaries of scientific progress. Discoveries usually lead to progress only if they are made at the right time. Commonly their acceptance depended on the readiness with which they can be integrated into prevalent thought, knowledge, and practice. The hypoglycemic sulfonylureas were discovered at such a fortuitous time. Even though originating from a chance observation, they were readily accepted because our concept and knowledge of diabetes had changed. A functional and multiple etiologic theory had replaced the old concept of an organic islet-cell deficiency. It had become

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