Oral Emetine in the Treatment of Intestinal Amebiasis

A Preliminary Report

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  • Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Republic of Panama, and The Medical Service Gorgas Hospital, Ancon, Canal Zone


In a preliminary study of 20 cases of intestinal amebiasis due to Endameba histolytica, including both acute and chronic forms, treated with emetine hydrochloride enteric-sealed tablets orally, encouraging results were obtained in 15 patients in a short period of time. These patients have been observed over periods of time ranging from one to seven months. None of the usual serious toxic reactions associated with the parenteral administration of emetine were noted. Results were judged on the basis of clinical improvement, healing of the bowel as observed by proctoscopic examination, and the disappearance of the amebae in microscopic studies and cultures of the stools. No recommendations as to the optimum dosage for the treatment of intestinal amebiasis with the oral emetine preparation used in this study can be given at this time. Further evaluation of this preparation is now in progress.

Author Notes

Captain, Medical Corps, AUS, Gorgas Hospital.

Assistant Director and Protozoologist, Gorgas Memorial Laboratory.

Director, Biological Division, Eli Lilly Company.

The authors are indebted to Lt. Col. M. A. Hardgrove, Chief, Medical Service, Gorgas Hospital, for valuable assistance rendered in this study.