"Not poppy, nor mandragora ..."

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    "An Index of Modern Remedies", by William Mair, has, since it was first published in 1941, been useful to the medical and pharmaceutical professions, to whom alone it is issued. The appearance of a new edition (Fourth Series, 1948. Scottish Chemist, 240 Albert Drive, Pollokshields, Glasgow, S.I; and from Messrs. H. K. Lewis and Co., Ltd., 136 Gower Street, London. 3s.) will therefore be welcomed. This new edition contains, as well as a few recently coined names of remedies, a valuable article on the 1948 edition of the British Pharmacopoeia, with lists of the 250 new admissions to this publication and of the omissions from it. There is also a useful list of costly and essential drugs now exempted from the purchase tax. As Mr. Mair rightly says in his introductory note, no physician or pharmacist can nowadays be familiar with the names, composition and action of all the pharmaceutical preparations on the market, and he has set out to give this information in a handy and well-indexed form. He also gives, by means of a key, the names and addresses of manufacturing chemists and the preparations which they make. Using this book, one realizes how many names some drugs nowadays have, the changes these names have undergone and how different they may be in different countries. Pentothal, for example, is now thiopentone soluble B.P. and U.S.P., and aminacrine hydrochloride B.P. used to be, and no doubt still is in some quarters, acramine, monacrin or acramine yellow. The maze of names given to the antimalarial drugs and to the sulphonamides and their derivatives are here sorted out, and a short supplement lists special injection solutions for parenteral therapy. More than half the book is devoted to a classification of various remedies according to their mode of action. In this section the statement that phenothiazine is an anthelmintic of low toxicity needs modification. As Prof. J. H. Gaddum says in his foreword, this book is a valuable guide and provides information not easily obtained elsewhere, even in more expensive books.

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    "Not poppy, nor mandragora ...". Nature 162, 97 (1948) doi:10.1038/162097b0

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