Packet for drug Tryparsamide. Made by 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

Light 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.


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

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