June 3, 2010

Remember 693 tablets? - a cure for everything?


There was once a great tablet with the figure 693 on it. In the 1950's in Sibu our mothers used to buy them in bottles and kept them at home replenishing them whenever only a few were left. That was used as our "anti-biotics"(this term was not known then )- our fever cure - our blood clotting medication and so many other functions...

Why 693? A veteran told me that the scientist made 693 experiments to finally formulate this wonderful medicine.

"In the decade between 1935 and 1945, the discovery and diffusion of sulfonamides, commonly known as sulfa drugs, new medicines capable of controlling bacterial infections, launched a true therapeutic revolution. Predating antibiotics, these "first miracle drugs" to quote the title of John Lesch’s latest book (The First Miracle Drugs. How the Sulfa Drugs Transformed Medicine, OUP, 2007), met with huge successes in both civilian and military applications, thus stimulating a rapid expansion of pharmaceutical research and production, raising expectations of medicine in general and accelerating the appearance of new and powerful medicines created via research." ( Wikipedia)


Caution : Sulfapyridine is not prescribed for treatment in humans any more. However, it may be used to treat Linear IgA Disease. It is a good antibacterial drug, but its water solubility is very pH dependent. Thus there is a risk of crystallization within the bladder or urethra, which could lead to pain or blockage.

How many of us still remember how as children we used to crush the 693 tablets (available in government dispensaries and hospitals in large glass jars) and put them on our bleeding wounds. We used to get big wounds from cuts and mosquito bites. These wounds might even turn into boils if we did not clean them with salt water. Within two days the 693 would dry up our wounds and we could play in the wet muddy river banks again.

I can remember with twitching nerves the wounds that I had when I was young and naughty. The mosquito bites turned septic if we were not careful. So many mothers had to buy lots of 693 to dry up these wounds which have gone septic. Some of my neighbours in fact had wounds which were badly treated and they had deep scars for the rest of their lives. But in retrospection we have plenty of scar stories to tell. (Thanks to Tony Wright - Marjon....who gave me plenty of food for though and lots of stories to tell)

Furthermore several reference books tell us that 693 actually successfully treated Winston Churchill's bacterial pneumonia in 1942. In a subsequent radio broadcast he said "This admirable M&B 693 from which I did not suffer any inconvenience, was used at the earliest moment and, after a week's fever, the intruders were repulsed." In 1944 M&B693 also saved Nero, the Royal Circus lion, from pneumonia.[Glasgow Evening News January 1944.]

How many Foochows I wonder in the past were treated by 693 and lived a long life like Winston Churchill.

Most of my friends and people I know in Marudi and Sarikei also praised 693 and its impact on their lives. People were too poor to see doctors in those days. 693 was the only "everyday or ready to use medication" for almost everything including tooth ache a very common ailment then.

15 comments:

wenn said...

why is it numbered 693..i wonder.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Because the scientist did 693 experiments.....

The Observer said...

glad it didn't stop at 666, christians will say it's evil. HAHAHAHAHAHHAH

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Observer
According to documentation this 693 brought about a huge revolution in the new world of pharmaceuticals....

Ann said...

.

would your veteran be the same veteran who told me this story? Our teacher and later Dean Mr. Hii?

How interesting, I recently told Ngao the same story, so now, Ngao can believe me and I did not make up this funny story.

Interesting again, I heard of LOK JOW SAM, but my parents and Ah Kung never used it. May be they didn't trust the mad scientist the way the Foochows trusted him. LOL

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann...what did Mr. Hii tell you? This veteran who told me the story was a basketballer and later a good businessman and now retired and coffee shop hopper/crawler...he has a lot of stories to tell actually . But when he has his moods...he has nothing to tell...

Lok Gow Sam was available in many government clinics..."it was like the Male Dresser would give them away and these Foochows would not bother him for a few months"....hahahah

I must write an article about Mr. Hii....but I don't have his recent photo...

Ann said...

Mr. Hii told the same story your wrote about. the moral of the story he says is we must persist and persist.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

till 693!!!

I am glad we have teachers like Mr. Hii and others in our school. We learned a lot from them.

Ah Ngao said...

yes,my mum said got such 693 tablets - cures all.can easily buy them from the grocery store

Bengbeng said...

wow.. you should be made a national archive... u know so much

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ah Ngao
I have forgotten they could even be obtained from grocery stores!! I know for sure some of the Chinese medicine (drug) stores had them....

Nice to hear from you and learn that your mum remembers.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Bengbeng
Thanks for the compliments....I am afraid I am too unknown to be in any known position....I am just writing to my heart's content....

Can't even get a book publish yet!

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Anonymous said...

Hi, just want to ask you? Is it the tablet still available in the market and where can i find it?
Do you know the contain of the tablet?
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

M&B adopted the system of logging drugs in order of when they were discovered. M&B 693 was the 693rd drug entered in the book.
It would have taken more than 693 experiments to produce it!