Phenacetin Controversy

Phenacetin (acetophenetidin) is an analgesic (pain-relieving) and antipyretic (fever-reducing) drug that was first introduced in 1887. This drug has gone through two major controversies: that of proprietary rights and its induction of nephrotoxicity. In the 1970s, phenacetin was manufactured in combination with other analgesics such as caffeine or aspirin. Based on the accumulation of reports accounting for the psychotropic, renal toxicity, and carcinogenic properties, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directed the withdrawal of phenacetin from the American market in 1983.

Phenacetin was first synthesized in 1878 by American chemist Harmon Northrop Morse (1948–1920), who has mainly been recognized for his synthesis of paracetamol, also referred as acetaminophen (brand names Tylenol, Panadol), an over-the-counter medication with the same effects. Phenacetin is synthesized using the ...

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