Pharmacy Fun Fact: October 23

What became a popular ingredient in the late 19th century for its pain relief abilities?

Question: What became a popular ingredient in the late 19th century for its pain relief abilities?

Answer: Cocaine

In the late 19th century, cocaine’s use as a pain reliever was widely acknowledged in the medical community, with notable fans such as Sigmund Freud and William Stewart Halsted (the founder of John Hopkins Hospital) advocating for its use as an anesthetic.

Due to its successful use by the medical community, cocaine become an ingredient in many popular medications, such as Roger’s Cocaine Pile Remedy and Lloyd’s Cocaine Toothache Drops.

Roger’s Cocaine Pile Remedy, which was marketed to assure consumers of its safety, was intended to shrink large and painful hemorrhoids. Additionally, it was used by consumers as a suppository.

Lloyd’s Cocaine Toothache Drops, on the other hand, were so affordable at $0.15 a package that they were not only used to treat adults, but were also marketed for use with children to treat any occasional toothaches that may arise.

REFERENCE

Kang L, Pedersen N. Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. New York, NY: Workman Publishing; 2017.