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An semi synthetic alkaloid from Amygdalin first made by Ernest Krebs Jr. and popularised by him and his father Ernest T. Krebs Sr. (not to be confused with several other famous biochemists of same surname).

There may be some fascination with possibly retrospective synthesis claims and the inconsistent material on the drug, but whatever the preparation, it has failed to find an objective place in therapy.[1][2] It has a subjective place, despite poor clinical results of the parent compound in studies done by Ernest T. Krebs Sr. which resulted in him promoting the later compound.

Two clinical trials have shown lack of clinical efficacy of the parent substance [3]. There is a problem with the common name as Amygdalin (C20H27NO11) is actually a different chemical compound but the two names are used interchangeably in the literature and promotional material. Laetrile® is a semisynthetic form of amygdalin and is not necessarily the same as laetrile on a herbal product label.

The possible reasons for the success of Laetrile despite lack of convincing evidence are discussed here.[4]


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