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Dale C. Cameron, MD
JAMA. 1966;196(8):731. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100210101030.
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Each day, thousands of physicians prescribe potent, modern drugs in order to afford specific or symptomatic benefit for their millions of patients. Properly prescribed, these drugs help save lives, correct disabilities, and relieve suffering.

All physicians know that potent drugs carry unwanted side effects and risks in addition to their beneficial properties. The problem for each physician, thus, becomes one of balancing probable benefits and risks in choosing the right drug, in the right dosage, at the right time, for the proper period, for a particular patient—recognizing that no two patients are exactly alike in the nature of their illness nor in their reaction to a given therapeutic agent.

Sedative and stimulant drugs, like most other potent medicinals, are at once helpful and dangerous—more helpful and more dangerous for some patients than for others.

This issue of The Journal (p 707) includes a symposium of four excellent communications on sedative


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