Medicine: Hold That Penicillin

In the seven years since its prodigious healing powers dazzled the world, penicillin has often caused people to break out in a mild rash. Occasionally it has caused more severe reactions. Last week, in the U.S. Armed Forces Medical Journal, a Navy medical officer warned sharply that the ill effects of penicillin are increasing in both number and gravity. Reactions like old-fashioned serum sickness,† he said, suggest that penicillin may act as such a strong sensitizing agent that a second course of treatment with it becomes impossible for a while.

Calling penicillin "an...

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