Although Bayer, or Freidr. Bayer & Co. of Elberfeld, Germany, had already created its first aspirin product by 1894, the company decided to hold off on moving forward with it in favor of another product: heroin. The company introduced their heroin product in the Autumn of 1898. It was a hydrochloric salt of heroin, soluble in water. It was otherwise known as Di-acetic ester of Morphia.
Ads in medical publications of the time claimed it was:
…an excellent substitute for Codeine. In doses of 5 milligrammes Heroin has given excellent results in cases of bronchitis, paryngitis, catarrh of the lungs, and in ashtma bronchiale. In the latter two cases, the dose may be increased to 1 centigramme. Heroin does not cause constipation. Its dose is much smaller than that of morphine. Heroin can be administered to patients with a weak heart who cannot tolerate morphine. It is best given in the form of powder mixed with sugar or may be dissolved in brandy, or water acidulated by the addition of a few drops of acetic acid [vinegar].
Heroin, which is derived from opium and is technically called diacetylmorphine, had been synthesized 20 years before but Bayer claimed to have originated it.
As hard as it is to believe, ads appeared in publications, during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s advertising both Bayer aspirin and Bayer Heroin.
Read more about the history of Bayer heroin here.
See also: Is There Opium in Poppy Seed Bagels