A new possibility in the search for an effective, non-habituating analgesic drug is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Heretofore used only in psychic experiments and in studies of schizophrenia, the hallucinogenic drug now is being used experimentally to relieve pain.
The studies are being conducted by Eric Kast, MD, at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, in the department of anesthesiology (Vincent Collins, MD, chairman). Kast is attending in anesthesiology at the hospital and is assistant professor of medicine and psychiatry at Chicago Medical School. Collins is associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University Medical School.
Kast said the drug has been used to date on about 300 patients, most of them in the pre-terminal stages of cancer.
Results are both encouraging and puzzling. Encouraging—because LSD relieves pain much longer than other drugs; puzzling—because many of the patients declined a second administration.
The action of LSD probably is on the enzymatic basis,