Drug - Tryparsamide, Pharmaceutical Specialties [May & Baker] Ltd., Dagenham, England, circa 1930, by arrangement with the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Kept in a mental health hospital pharmacy and administered to patients at a mental health hospital in Victoria, Australia.

Tryparsamide (trade name) is sodium N-phenylglycineamide-p-arsonate, a compound containing 25% arsenic. Used in conjunction with malarial fever therapy to treat tertiary neuro-syphilis in patients diagnosed with General Paralysis of the Insane (GPI), having been originally developed for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis, or African sleeping sickness. GPI was found to be caused by the spirochaete bacterium Treponema pallidum and later treated effectively with penicillin.

Physical Description

Drug, tryparsamide, is a white powder contained in a 3gm glass vial sealed brown cardboard box. The word POISON is stamped in red on the front of the box. The box was sealed at one end with a black and white sticker bearing the May & Baker brand label - the seal is broken. The text on the inner vial is incomplete. The numeral 3 can be made out, followed by the word TRYPARSAMIDE and the May & Baker brand label. Emptied by Conservation.


Example of medication administered to patients in psychiatric hospitals in Victoria, Australia.

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