Liebreich O (1869)

Das Chloral, ein neues Hypnoticum und Anaesthetikum [Chloral, a new hypnotic and anaesthetic]. Berliner Klinische Wochenschrift 6:325-327.

Key passage(s)



“Having shown the effect [of chloral] in animals, I believed myself justified in proceeding to experiments in humans. Thanks to the amiability of Professors Virchow, Westphal, Joseph Meyer and of Counsellor Bardeleben, and also of Dr Jastrowitz, Medical Officers Berkowsky, Thielo and Fuhrmann, I could do these experiments in the Charity Hospital [in Berlin]. The first experiments were done in psychiatric patients, with subcutaneous application of initially very low doses. There was no local irritation. A dose of 1.35 chloralhydrate injected subcutaneously already induced a 5-hour sleep. In order to apply a higher dose, I proceeded to systemic administration. 3.5 chloralhydrate in a wineglass full of water sufficed to induce a 16-hour sleep in a patient suffering from stupor and melancholy. In a very painful inflammation of the wrist, 2.5 chloralhydrate effected hypnosis with partial anaesthesia so that the patient could be bandaged easily and firmly.

In all these cases the sleep produced by this substance was normal, and began sometimes only 5 minutes after administration.


The cases of the use of chloral have been substantially increased and will soon be published in a detailed compiled report.

Berlin, 27 June 1869”

Translation by Ulrich Tröhler