WLM ID: aiwh, aiwg, aivy | Catalog Record
From left to right is an Abbott Laboratories box for Pentothal Sodium, a glass ampule for Pentothal Sodium, and a glass bottle for liquid Pentothal Sodium. Pentothal Sodium is Abbott’s brand name for thiopental. Thiopental is part of a class of medications called barbiturates, which cause drowsiness and can induce sleep.
Thiopental was the first drug to be widely used as an intravenous anesthetic in the United States. Dr. John S. Lundy (1894-1973), of the Rochester, Minnesota Mayo Clinic, was the first physician to publish research on thiopental and is credited with its rapid acceptance and integration into anesthesia practice. Intravenous anesthetics are injected or infused into a vein, and they tend to work quickly. From the late 1930s through the 1950s thiopental was a popular choice for short procedures. It was also used to induce, or start, anesthesia, and augment other anesthetics. Today, although sometimes still used to induce anesthesia, thiopental has largely been replaced by a newer intravenous anesthetic called propofol.
The bottle on the right in the photograph, labeled “Abbotts,” was designed by anesthesiologists Robert D. Dripps, M.D. (1911-1973), James E. Eckenhoff, M.D. (1915-1996), and Leroy D. Vandam, M.D. (1914-2004) at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1950s.