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Medical application of sulphonamides.

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About this work


Part 1: Introduction to the discovery of sulphonamides in the UK. Data from a number of trials is mentioned from the 1930s and cited from relevant Lancet articles. As war looked imminent, demand increased as sulphonamides proved successful in treating gonorrhea. Similar compounds were developed in parrallel in the US. Pharmaceutical activity in May and Baker laboratories is seen including scientists at work, drug manufacture and research labs. Part 2: Pharmacology is explained and how the sulphonamides work. How the drug is absorbed by the body is illustrated using a diagram of a generic female torso. Part 3: Clinical use. Sulphonamides are used for various acute infections. It is noted that tuberculosis infection cannot be treated with this medicine and that there are problems with toxicity due to the high doses usually given. A lot of fluid must be ingested. Guideline quantities in its administration are shown; a high initial dose followed by hourly doses at different intervals stepped over the course of days. A male patient is shown with severe dermatitis on his back and rear. It is demonstrated that sulphonamides can be used as a prophylatic (preventative medicine either from the perspective of post-surgical infection or to prevent cross-infection in groups). It is shown to be effective in a number of kinds of preparations both oral and topical. Intertitle: 'Intestinal Chemotherapy' and preventing complications such as peritonitis through using gut-active sulphonamides. There are also veterinary uses. Application is described. Most patients are treated orally. Comatosed patients can be treated nasally. The method of choice is intravenously; this is demonstrated. Preparing a dose and siting the injection is explained in detail. Finally, toxicity and the side effects are described in detail. Firstly, cyanosis. Rashes indicate sensitivity. A rarer condition is anaemia. Finally, the role of sulphonamides is discussed in tandem with penicillin and streptomycin. Finis.


UK : May and Baker Pharmaceuticals, 1948.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (34 min.) : sound, black and white



Copyright note

May and Baker Pharmaceuticals

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

Produced by National Interest Picture Productions Ltd.


This film was made to support the activities of a pharmaceutical company, May and Baker, and promotes the uses of a group of anti-bacterial compounds known as sulphonamides (or sulfonamides). They are still in use today in cases of infection when a single anti-biotic medicine is not suitable. At the end of the film, the development of penicillin and streptomycin is noted, although the film suggests that sulphonamides still have a role. Many of the side-effects, noted in the film, are unpleasant and toxic.

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