Why am I even THINKING about those bottles? Let’s blame a favorite show, American Pickers for that. Some words of historic wisdom during that show informed me that Bromo-Seltzer, my Aunt’s true love to remedy all those headaches and tummy aches was discontinued in 1975 because it was TOXIC.
What? This inspired an investigation!
The original patent for this drug dates back to 1890. While the product has ties to the Brawner Company for their investment in the product, it was manufactured by Emerson Drug Company of Baltimore. “Pill pusher” Isaac Emerson perceived and created the product as a headache remedy and sold it in…yes, you guessed it…cobalt blue bottles.
He’s been hailed as a savvy businessman for his time and commended for his heavy use of advertising. Since Captain Emerson passed away in the late thirties, any advertising most of us have been exposed to isn’t likely to have his handy work on it.
Now, I bet you’re reading this because the word toxic grabbed you, right? Bromide, besides providing obvious inspiration for the name of the drug, serves as the culprit. It’s a sedative that’s capable of messing you up enough to come across as a drunken, upset, “off-key” person.
That wasn’t all. Prolonged use caused bromide to build up in your system. While the “normal” dosage could lead to severe symptoms including hallucinations, confusion and even coma, a “therapeutic” dosage was actually three to five times that amount. The same source states that at one time 5% to 10% of all patients in psychiatric hospitals were victims of, yes, you guessed it, bromide. Shudder!
Were you wondering if my Aunt a bit daffy? The answer is yes, however we’ll never know if Bromo-Seltzer had any involvement with that.
See Jack Klugman ingest some famous toxic salts here.
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