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Prescription Drug Advertisements Looked A Lot Cooler In the 1970s

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This arresting late-seventies ad by Argentinian graphic designer Eduardo A. Cánovas depicts the primary target of the (now largely obsolete) drug Tonibral: the brain. Yet another example of the top-notch science art typical of the 1950s, '60s and '70s.


Tonibral (in case, like me, you were curious) is one of the many trade names for dimethylaminoethanol, a chemical that was once commonly prescribed for the treatment of everything from depression to ADHD to Alzheimer's disease. Today, its use in the treatment of neuropsychological conditions is rare. It has, however, in the last decade or so, experienced a resurgence in the field of cosmetic dermatology, as – no joke – an anti-aging cream. In his guide to anti-aging drugs, mathematician and staunch cryonics advocate Thomas K. Donaldson wrote:

Riker Laboratories, the manufacturer of Deaner [another trade name of dimethylaminoethanol] has withdrawn this drug from the market, not because of any problems with toxicity but because of a consensus by psychiatrists that other drugs worked better than Deaner for its marketed purpose. (Riker marketed Deaner for hyperactivity in schoolchildren). The Mexican company Bracco de Mexico continues to make and sell Lucidryl in Mexico, where users may buy it and bring it across the border quite legally.


I wish I knew more about the formatting of Cánovas' art as it appeared in the original advertisement. Was this art piece a single-page advertisement, or was it half of a two-page spread? The latter seems more likely – but then, perhaps Tonibral was so well known at the time that it could be marketed on its name (and good graphic design) alone.

More info on dimethylaminoethanol here, here and here.

H/t 50 Watts