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Logo of procrsmedFormerly medchtJournal of the Royal Society of MedicineProceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine
Proc R Soc Med. 1939 February; 32(4): 309–314.
PMCID: PMC1997455

Some Recent Work on Barbiturates

(Section of Anæsthetics)


Toxic effects are sometimes seen after the administration of quite small amounts of barbiturates. Factors concerned in their production are discussed under the following heads:—

(1) Barbiturates can produce liver damage, even hepatitis.

(2) Barbiturates may become toxic in the presence of liver damage, as shown by:—

(a) Clinical and post-mortem experience.

(b) Experimental evidence—the work of Pratt and Koppanyi in America and our own experiments showing that certain barbiturates may exert toxic effects not only when there is severe liver damage but also in the early stages of liver injury.

(3) Other factors also seem to be concerned:—

(a) Cold.

(b) Hæmorrhage.

(c) Fasting.

(d) Sepsis.

(e) Tight bandage around upper abdomen.

(f) Castration.

The experimental evidence for this statement is given.

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