A year has elapsed since alpha-dinitrophenol was introduced into therapeutics as a metabolic stimulant by Tainter and his collaborators of the Stanford University School of Medicine. In experimental animals, large doses of this chemical increase the metabolism as much as 1,200 per cent,1 thus generating more heat than the animal can eliminate and resulting in fatal fever. Smaller doses increase the metabolism proportionately, without, however, any apparent deleterious effects on vital functions. Fat and carbohydrates are burned in about equal proportions with little if any effect on proteins. Particularly striking is a practically negligible effect on the circulation, in contrast to the pronounced effects on this funct[ill]n from equivalent doses of thyroid.
In patients, the drug stimulates metabolism similarly to the increases that occur in animals, with little or no symptoms following subfebrile doses.2 This metabolic stimulation is useful in the treatment of obesity,3 as shown by