Voluminous articles have appeared recently proclaiming the great benefits of the Sulphanilamide group of drugs. Lay journals have heralded to the public that infections now can be completely controlled by this new discovery.
The claims made for this new product are that it destroys bacteria, especially of pneumonia, as well as other virulent infectious agents.
DOES THE DESTRUCTION OF BACTERIA DESTROY DISEASE?.
If man possesses a healthy body, free from the predisposed diseases, namely, miasms, he is impregnable to diseases. Were this not true all individuals would be susceptible to invading germs. We are all cognizant of the fact that nurses and doctors continually expose themselves to the ravages of these supposed causative agents, yet are seldom infected.
As the effect of the Sulphanilamide group of drugs is directly upon the infectious agent and restores apparent health by its direct bactericidal action, it would seem that the natural body resistance contributes nothing to the ultimate cure.
If successful destruction of invading bacteria is all that is required for the cure of disease, then homoeopathy is of no avail.
If statistical reports proving the superiority of bactericidal action of the Sulphanilamide group of drugs are superior to those obtain by he application of the Law of Similars, then the fundamental law involving homoeopathic practice is null and void.
That such cures have been heralded many times in the past is common knowledge to all of us who have read medical history.
NATURAL IMMUNITY VS. ARTIFICIAL.
It remains to be proven which is paramount in the cure of disease– the bactericidal drugs or the natural protective immunity within the human body.
Man has been known to live to the ripe old age of 100 years or more with no history of sickness. Yet he has been exposed to the ravages of infections, the horrors of crowded conditions incident to war, and the close proximity of many infectious diseases. It would be folly to conclude he has not been exposed to the great dangers incident to the many infectious and contagious diseases. Yet something within that long-lived individual has created a soil untenable to the invading hosts of disease.
Not since the history of Hahnemanns application of the Law of Similia has there been discovered any treatment which equals in life-saving properties this Law.
The February, 1939, number of International Medical Digest, Vol. 34, No. 2, gives a condensation of articles by Dr. R.R. Kracke, (1255-1259, October 1, 1938) and Dr. F. D. Johnston, (1044-1047, November 5, 1938), printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association, as follows:.
In an interesting review of the relation of drug therapy to neutropenic states, Kracke concludes that amidopyrine is undoubtedly the cause of the majority of cases of agranulocytosis. At least 15 are on record, however, in which prontosil or sulphanilamide has been responsible. In a recent issue of the Lancer, Dr. F. D. Johnston records two cases in which severe agranulocytosis followed treatment with both allonal (which contains amidopyrine) and sulphanilamide.
Since the dosage of sulphanilamide was large and that of allonal small, Johnston considers that the former was responsible for the sudden fall in white cells, a conclusion which is not perhaps justified, since agranulocytosis has been known to follow even minute doses of amidopyrine. Certainly it seems unnecessary to give a patient two drugs which may have a similar toxic action, and Johnston states that in the future allonal will not be used at Queen Charlottes Maternity Hospital isolation block.
Analyzing published cases of agranulocytosis, Johnston finds that only one of the patients received a dose of sulphanilamide that can be deemed excessive, and this patient recovered. The lowest total dose given to an adult (30 Gm.) was about that used at Queen Charlottes Hospital in moderately severe puerperal infections. He regards the length of time over which the drug is taken as of more importance, the period in all but one instance, that of an emaciated child, being more than a fortnight.
When pyrexia recurs or increases during sulphanilamide or prontosil therapy, especially in those infections which are known to respond to such treatment, he believes that granulocytopenia should be suspected until the question is settled by examination of the leukocytes. If done frequently, leukocyte counts would no doubt obviate the danger of severe granulocytopenia, but Johnston thinks that this arduous task is unnecessary. In his opinion, only those cases with a Streptococcus haemolytics Group A infection, which do not show a typical response, require frequent blood examinations.