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Joseph C. Borrus, M.D.
JAMA. 1955;157(18):1596-1598. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02950350010005.
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The search for a medicament with sedative and relaxant properties has been a never-ending one in the progress of medicine. The earlier agents used included paraldehyde, chloral hydrate, and bromides. In 1903,1 the use of barbituric acid and its derivatives was a significant advance in this field, until the accompanying hazards of addiction, overdosage, and toxicity became apparent. While barbiturates are still the most widely used medicaments, the search progressed with the use of anticonvulsants (especially hydantoin derivatives). Even antihistaminic agents play a lesser role as sedatives. Meparfynol has also been introduced as a sedative-hypnotic, but here one must be alert to the possibility of liver damage.

In recent years, mephenesin2 has entered the field. Partial success has been obtained with its use in certain anxiety states,3 in certain neurological and muscular disorders,4 and as an adjunct in alcoholism. The relative success of this preparation suggested


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