Rev Esp Quimioter 2018; 31(6): 485-492.
Evolution of treatment of syphilis through history
CRISTINA ROS-VIVANCOS, MARÍA GONZÁLEZ-HERNÁNDEZ, JUAN FRANCISCO NAVARRO-GRACIA, JOSÉ SÁNCHEZ-PAYÁ, ANTONIO GONZÁLEZ-TORGA, JOAQUÍN PORTILLA-SOGORB
In this article, we present a historical revision of syphilis treatment since the end of the XV century up until the current days. For centuries, it was understood that syphilis had been brought to Spain by Columbus after coming back from America. It became an epidemic soon after. Later on, it was spread all over Europe. The chronologic and geographic origin of this illness have been debated in recent years, however, there has been no agreement about it as yet. Mercury was the main used therapy for four and a half centuries, until the discovery of penicillin in 1943. This discovery changed the therapeutic approach to syphilis since then. Other remedies were used during this period. Guaiacum was one of them, but it was dismissed in the mid-sixteenth century. Iodides were also used, especially in the tertiary symptoms of the disease. The discovery of arsphenamine (Salvarsan) at the beginning of the XX century, used by itself at its onset and associated to mercury or bismuth later on, was a significant therapeutic contribution. Bismuth was in itself a great therapeutic asset. It displaced the use of mercury in an important way until 1943, when the appearance of penicillin became the treatment of choice.
Rev Esp Quimioter 2018; 31(6): 485-492. [Texto completo PDF]