The next important step to be considered is when the first prescription has acted improperly, or without curative results. Then it becomes necessary to consider a second prescription. The first prescription sometimes changes the symptoms that are harmless and painless into symptoms that are dangerous and painful.
If a rheumatism of the knee goes to the heart under a remedy prescribed for the one symptom, the remedy has done harm. It is an unfortunate prescription and must be antidoted. In incurable diseases when a remedy has set up destructive symptoms, an antidote must be considered.
If the remedy changes the general symptom-image, and the general state of the patient is growing worse, the question then comes up, was the prescription only similar to a part of the image, or is the disease incurable? Knowledge of disease may settle this question. If the disease is incurable, the action of the remedy was not expected to do more than to change the sufferings into peaceful symptoms, and the second prescription is to be considered only when new sufferings demand a remedy.
But suppose such a change of suffering comes after the first prescription and the disease is undoubtedly curable, then the conclusion must be that the first prescription was not the true specific, and that the true image has not been seen.
Wait until the old image has fully returned is all there is to do.
It is hazardous practice to follow up rapidly all the changing symptoms in any sickness, with remedies that simply for the moment seem similar to the symptoms present. The observing physician will know by the symptoms and their directions, whether the patient is growing better or worse, even though he appear to the contrary to himself and his friends.
The complaints of patient or friends constitute no ground for a second prescription.
The greatest sufferings may intervene in the change of symptoms during progress of permanent recovery, and if such symptoms are disturbed by a new prescription or palliated by inappropriate medicine, the patient may never be cured.
The object, of the first prescription is to arrange the vital current or motion in a direction favorable to equilibrium, and when this is attained it must not be disturbed by a new interference. Ignorance in this sphere has cost millions of lives.
When will the medical world be willing to learn these principles so well that they can cure speedily, gently and permanently?
There can be no fixed time for making the second prescription; it my be many months.
The second prescription must be one that has a friendly relation to the last one or the preceding. No intelligent prescription can be made without knowing the last remedy. Concordances in Boenninghausen must not be ignored. The new remedy should sustain a complementary to the former.