Treatment Guidelines - Syphilis
Before the introduction of penicillin, the heavy-metal cure often caused thousands of deaths each year. The morbidity and mortality of the disease itself was horrendous, involving all ages from the fetus to the elderly - Richard Arnold MD
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In 1943 penicillin was introduced as a treatment for syphilis by John Mahoney, Richard Arnold and AD Harris.  Mahoney and his colleagues at the US Marine Hospital, Staten Island, treated four patients with primary syphilis chancres with intramuscular injections of penicillin four-hourly for eight days for a total of 1,200,000 units by which time the syphilis had been cured. This became a turning point in the treatment for syphilis as penicillin was shown to be highly effective when administered during either its primary or secondary stages, and it had few side effects of any significance when compared to mercury or arsenic.