Chicken Soup or Laetrile— Which Would You Prescribe?

Alfred Soffer, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1977;137(8):994-995. doi:10.1001/archinte.1977.03630200004004.
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Caroline and Schwartz1 contend that there are grave dangers in abrupt withdrawal of chicken soup in the treatment of pneumonia. These authors describe complications in a 40-year-old male physician who declined further chicken soup after initial symptomatic improvement of his pneumococcal pneumonia. Five days later a severe relapse occurred, refractory to all medical treatment: "Chicken soup being unavailable the patient was started on one million units every six hours of intravenous penicillin. Increases of the dosage up to thirty million units daily were not effective. Following a right thoracotomy the patient experienced an uneventful recovery."

The publication of this report in Chest precipitated a torrent of Letters to the Editor. A distinguished urologist from the Mayo Clinic wrote: "You might be interested to know that we have successfully treated male impotence with another chicken-derived compound, sodium cytarabine hexamethyl-acetyl lututria tetra-zolamine (Schmaltz or chicken fat). This compound when applied in


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