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Antimony in Medical History

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7238.879/a (Published 25 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:879
  1. Carole Rawcliffe, reader in the history of medicine.
  1. University of East Anglia, Norwich

    R Ian McCallum


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    Pentland Press, £15, pp 125

    ISBN 1 85821 642 7

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    Antimony for medical use has a history stretching back to ancient times. But the use of such a potentially toxic purgative has provoked bitter disagreement among practitioners, inspired vitriolic satire, and despatched countless men and women to an early grave. Recently, the presumed connection between antimony and cot deaths has added yet another chapter to the saga. Advanced by some early modern healers as a near miraculous panacea, it was also revered by alchemists because of …

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