Carbenoxalone was introduced during the 1960s for the treatment of peptic ulcers but caused salt and water retention in some patients leading to high blood pressure, swelling, weight gain, muscle weakness and heart failure. Other drugs are now preferred, says the British National Formulary, but if carbenoxalone is to be used, patients should be monitored carefully during treatment.(1)
Prior to marketing, animal tests had given the impression that carbenoxalone was safe, having revealed no harmful effects.(2) These tests were carried out on rodents but scientists then realised that people metabolised carbenoxalone quite differently to rats, mice and rabbits. Further experiments were therefore undertaken with dogs and monkeys but again, there was no evidence of toxicity. (2)
1) British National Formulary, no.26 (BMA & the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of G.B., 1993).
2) C.T.Eason et al, Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology, 1990, vol. 11, 288-307.
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