An incompletely controlled and inadequately recorded
preliminary clinical trial on the use of Penicillin snuff in
the treatment of the Common Cold has been described. 135 cases
were involved of which only 30 were control cases. The snuff
consisted of Penicillin Calcium in a base of Dextrose, in the
proportion of 10,000 units of Penicillin to each grain of
Dextrose. The control snuff was simply Dextrose, to which was added sufficient lycopodium to produce the necessary colour
The results of the preliminary trial appeared to
justify further investigation, and a more detailed survey, with
adequate control was undertaken, using the same dosage of
Penicillin and the same control snuff. 200 cases were involved
of which 100 were Control cases.
Critical reference has been made to relevant literature on the subject.
It has been noted throughout the trial that subjective
appreciation of the major symptoms of the Common Cold was very
variable, a factor, which in no way simplified the recording of
1. Penicillin Snuff appeared to limit the duration of the
nasal discharge in a considerable number of cases.
2. Use of this Snuff also appeared to prevent the occurrence of the septic types of discharge in many cases and in
a number of others limited the duration of the septic discharge.
3. It appeared to shorten the duration of the slight
throat symptom which occurred in many of the cases investigated.
In contra-distinction to the above, Penicillin Snuff
did not appear to have any effect on headache which not infrequently appeared as a symptom in the present trials, and it
appeared to favour the occurrence of the Depressive symptoms.
The therapeutic procedure was uncomplicated and no harmful effects have been recorded from its use. It is
recommended as a convenient method of treating ambulant patients
in large industrial undertakings.
In view of the factors affecting the passage of snuff
through the naso- pharynx, it is considered that only a minimum
dosage need be laid down.
In the present clinical trial, the positive effects
of Penicillin Snuff appear to a large extent, to be associated
with the disappearance of those symptoms and signs generally
considered to be mainly due to secondary invasion by a variety
of pathogenic organisms and normally inhabiting the naso-pharynx
some of which are believed to be Penicillin sensitive.
The limitations of the present purely clinical trials
have been realised, but it is considered that the results obtained,
justify further trials on similar lines, possibly using a more potent snuff, by increasing the proportion of Penicillin in the
same base, or alternatively by replacing the bland Dextrose base
by a more active drug such as Sulphathiazole.