Sunday, October 08, 2006

apomorphine and alcoholism

Picking up another forgotten therapy, John Yerbury Dent's use of apomorphine to cure alcoholism.

Well described in Alan Maclean's autobiography "No, I Tell a Lie, it was the Tuesday…", pages 138 to 150, and much misdecribed in Alan's obituaries, which kept calling it an "aversion therapy" when it says quite clearly on page 141 "it's not an aversion treatment".

Apomorphine, discovered in the 1860s (so no nice patents for pharmaceutical companies to make a mint from) has a range of interesting effects. No-one seems to have bothered to try Dent's therapy again, can't imagine why. Various papers (paid-for access, sadly) describe the use of apomorphine with alcoholics - but none of them using it (as far as I can see) in Dent's fashion (to the extent he is discussed, it is to dismiss him as a magician).

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