WLM ID: aknn | Catalog Record
The hypnotic drug, tribromethanol was first described in 1923 by German chemists Richard Willstäter (1872-1942) and Carl Duisberg (1861-1935). It was introduced for the then-new technique of basal anesthesia in 1926 by the German pharmacologist, Fritz Eichholtz (1889-1967). The technique of basal anesthesia used premedication to depress the patient's central nervous system, reducing the amount of inhalation anesthetic required for the surgery. Avertin, made by Winthrop Chemical Company, combined tribromethanol with another hypnotic drug, amylene hydrate. It was administered rectally, half an hour before the operation.
Dr. Paul Wood (1894-1963) was an advocate for the basal technique, and this agent. He designed his Avertin apparatus in the mid-1930s. It was made by The Foregger Company. The kit included a flask for mixing the drug with warm water to the required dosage, which was calculated according to the patient's body weight, a test tube for pouring the drug into the flask, a thermometer to ensure that the water was of the right temperature, and a rubber tube. The Avertin itself, and a testing agent to determine the purity of the mixture, had to be purchased separately.