RESEARCH on amœbicides was greatly facilitated by the technique developed by Dobell and Laidlaw (1926), and Laidlaw, Dobell and Bishop (1928) for testing amoebicides in vitro. Emetine has for long been the principal drug used in the treatment of amoebic dysentery, but it has some undesirable by-effects, amongst others a nauseating effect. In a search for substances having the amoebicidal action of emetine without its nauseating effect, a number of alkaloids very closely related to emetine in chemical structure were made at an earlier period. When tested by Dale and Dobell (1917), by an early laboratory method, several of them, 0-methylpsychotrine (a substance which differs from emetine structurally only in containing two hydrogen atoms fewer) and JV-methylemetine, for example, were found to be more toxic to Entamoeba histolytica than emetine itself. Clinical trials of 0-methylpsychotrine (Jepps and Meakins, 1917) and N-methylemetine, however (Low, 1915 ; Wenyon and O'Connor, 1917), showed them to be of little or no value in the treatment of amoebic dysentery.
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