Drug, Novarsenobillon (Neoarsphenamine), manufactured by May & Baker Ltd., Dagenham, England, 1945. Stocked in the pharmacy of a mental health hospital in Victoria, Australia. Novarsenobillon was the trade name under which the drug was marketed by May & Baker, the active ingredient being neoarsphenamine.

Neoarsphenamine was used in the treatment of syphilis. Tertiary syphilis was a common cause for mental health conditions. Also known as Neosalvarsan, it superseded Salvarsan due to its lower toxicity. Both arsenicals still carried significant risk of side-effects and were themselves replaced by penicillin in the 1940s. Prior to the use of arsphenamine and neoarsphenamine, syphilis was treated with the malarial fever cure developed by Austrian psychiatrist Julius Wagner-Jauregg.

Physical Description

The drug novarsenobillon (neoarsphenamine) is contained in a long thin, oblong, orange, cardboard box, which is sealed. Probably in an ampoule. Contains 0.90gm.


Example of pharmaceuticals prescribed at mental health hospitals in Victoria, Australia.

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