Patent medicines for the treatment of genitourinary diseases

World J Urol. 1999 Jun;17(3):171-5. doi: 10.1007/s003450050127.


The present article addresses the nineteenth-century advertising of patent medicines in America, sold to "cure" diseases of the kidney and bladder, the "loss of manhood", and "debilitating conditions of the generative system." Most of the proprietary remedies made extravagant claims of effectiveness concerning a wide variety of ailments, and some claimed to cure every disease. Examples of promotional excesses demonstrate how the public was persuaded to buy a kaleidoscope of largely useless and occasionally harmful patent nostrums. The ephemera considered became a part of the history of medicine related to urology.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Advertising / history*
  • Female Urogenital Diseases / drug therapy
  • Female Urogenital Diseases / history*
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Male Urogenital Diseases*
  • Nonprescription Drugs / history*
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use
  • United States


  • Nonprescription Drugs