W. Towers Smith, N.E. Yorke-Davies
1890 The Lancet  
642 incidentally. Bartholow gives a good summary of its use!?, but the most exhaustive account is to be found in Phillips' well-known " Vegetable Kingdom." Planat and Hammond recommended it in epilepsy, and Gubler proposed its use in chorea. I'hillips lays down definite rules for its employment in various complaints-notably in certain forms of dyspepsia, megrim, and dysmenorrhoea. Externally, it is used in the form of a pigment or paint as a parasiticide. I have employed it largely in doses of
more » ... /60th of a grain in the treatment of the night sweating of phthisis, for which it is an excellent remedy. It probably acts as an anhidrotic by stimulating the respiratory centre. There seems to be some difference of opinion as to the dose ; in a well-known Dictionary of Medicine it was stated to be th of a grain, but this was subsequently corrected and was obviously a misprint. I believe the correct dose is from 1/120th to tr'uth of a grain. In the Pharmacopoeia of the Westminster Hospital we have a pill containing 1/60th of a grain made with sugar of milk and glycerine of tragacanth, and I have never given more than two of these three times a day. Crichton Browne finds that in rabbits the toxic dose is 1/90th of a grain to the pound, and in guinea-pigs about 1/40th of a grain to the pound. There are very few cases of poisoning on record. Many years ago several men suffered severely from drinking rum impregnated with cocculus indicus, and one of them died. In another case, a boy aged twelve died from swallowing forty grains of a fish poison containing cocculus indicus, but the strength of the preparation was not known. There might possibly be some difficulty in detecting with certainty the presence of picrotoxin in the dead body, for Giacomelli has described a ptomaine closely resembling it both in physical characters and chemical reactions. The pharmacological actions would probably serve to differentiate them. Picrotoxin is allied to cicutoxin-the active principle of the water-hemlock-and to coriamyrtin, derived from coriaria myrtifolia. These drugs stimulate the origins of the inhibitory fibres of the vagus, the vascular and respiratory centres, and the motor areas of the medulla oblongata. In its action on the secretions, picrotoxin is allied to pilocarpine and muscarine, and is antagonised by atropine and members of that group. The best antidote to picrotoxin is chloral hydrate.-I am, Sirs, your obedient servant,
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)19410-4 fatcat:xra6qx3iv5fnbjyhzvcslglk2u