These antique drug ads recommended some questionable treatments

Medicine has come a long way in recent years.

Since World War II, the World Health Organization has been formed and life expectancy has improved dramatically, thanks to new vaccines, x-ray imaging capabilities, modern surgery and the eradication of diseases such as smallpox.

Thankfully, something else that has helped our lives improve is the discontinuation of some seriously questionable medical treatments.

In the early decades of the 20th century -- not even 100 years ago, in some cases -- advertisements were still plastered all over the streets, recommending drugs like cocaine and heroin to take care of toothaches and sedate coughs.

Luckily, we have since learned the dangers of these substances and they are no longer prescribed by doctors.

Take a look back in time at some of the most curious antique advertisements from the late 1800s and early 1900s:

Antique drug ads recommended some questionable things
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Antique drug ads recommended some questionable things
UNSPECIFIED - NOVEMBER 14: More doctors smoke camels than any other cigarette, advertisement for cigarettes in 1946 (Photo by Apic/Getty Images)
Advertisement for Cocaine Toothache Drops, showing two children playing outside, 1890. Courtesy National Library of Medicine. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
Mother with Two Children, Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, Trade Card, circa 1900. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Wilbur's Gall Cure or Cure-a-Cut Poster (Photo by ?? Swim Ink 2, LLC/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) This advertisement from a 1900 magazine juxtaposes two pharmaceuticals which have since achieved distinct images in the public mind: Heroin and aspirin. Bayer introduced heroin in 1898 as a cough suppressant that did not have the harmful effects of other opiates. Heroin is an acetylated product of morphine, just as aspirin is an acetylated product of salicyclic acid. Aspirin was produced in the same Bayer laboratories and released to the public a year later.
1880: An advertisement for Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic which promises to make 'children and adults as fat as pigs'. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Advertisement: Vin Mariani - The original French coca wine. 1893 Harper's Weekly.
Advertisement for Gilbert & Parsons Hygienic Whiskey, for medical use, 1860. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1900: Maxfield Parrish (1870 � 1966) was an American painter and illustrator. He worked on comission on books, advertising campaigns, magazines, and even sculpture. He was famous for his 'girls on rocks' but his work went well beyond that series. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
Advertisement for Allen's Cocaine Tablets, 1890. Priced at 50 cents a box, they are prescribed for hay fever, catarrh, and throat troubles, and promised as a cure for nervousness, headache, and sleeplessness. (Photo by Stock Montage/Getty Images)
An advertisement for Ayer's Ague Cure, which is intended to cure fever, ague, and all malarial disorders, shows a woman administering the medication to a a fallen man in a tropical location, 1986. Courtesy National Library of Medicine. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
Advertisement for 'Otto de Rose' cigarettes by Ogdensfrom ''The Illustrated London News'', London, 1892. Photo by: (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)
Advertisement for Altenheim Hair Growth Remedy by the Altenheim Medical Dispensary in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1899. (Photo by Jay Paull/Getty Images)
Poster advertising Parr's Life Pills, 19th century. The 19th century saw a profusion of quack medicines which were claimed to cure all sorts of diseases and ailments. One example was Parr's Pills, which were supposedly made to a recipe invented by Thomas Parr, who allegedly lived to 152 years of age. The pills were claimed to cure both constipation and diarrhoea, and as the poster describes, would 'conquer disease and prolong life'. Friederich Engels reported in 1845 that the British working classes consumed up to 25,000 boxes of Parr's Pills every week, taking them for a whole range of diverse complaints. (Photo by Museum of London/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

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