The Fate of Radioactive Tartar Emetic Administered to Human Subjects

I. Blood Concentration and Excretion following Single and Multiple Intravenous Injections

Restricted access


  1. 1.The use of radioactive antimony provides a useful tool in the study of the metabolism of the antimonials used in the treatment of tropical diseases.
  2. 2.Following a single intravenous dose of tartar emetic, there is rapid elimination by urine and feces for the first 2 days, followed by a slower and relatively steady rate of elimination for the following 5 days. Approximately 80 percent is eliminated by way of the urine, and 20 percent by the gastro-intestinal tract.
  3. 3.Approximately 12 percent of the antimony is eliminated in 24 hours; 30 percent in a week; and, in one patient, 73 percent of the antimony was eliminated in 4 weeks.
  4. 4.The blood antimony level falls precipitously following injection. There is evidence that the immediate toxic symptoms of antimony therapy are due to injection at a rate too rapid to allow for this drop. The poor results of therapy by infrequent doses may be attributable to the extremely low blood level which persists after a brief interval.
  5. 5.Analogous results of multiple injections in man and the dog suggest that the basic blood level of antimony may be controlled by adjusting the size and frequency of doses.

Author Notes

Major, M.C., A.U.S.