But they were completely mistaken; by these processes they only made the opium weaker without altering its nature. Now much large doses were required in order obtain the same result, and when these larger doses were administered they always acted just like the original opium; the new preparation caused the same stupefaction, and the same constipation, and so forth, and hence it became evident that opium possesses no removable bad qualities, just as little as any other medicine, but that its peculiar medicinal powers must ever prove injurious and dangerous when it is employed anthipathically in large doses and when it is not understood ho to make a homoeopathic employment of it;- opium might be employed in its natural powerful state or, weakened by a number of expensive artificial processes, in the large doses required to produce its anthipathic effects.
Opium has this peculiarity more than many other medicines, that in the case of persons unaccustommed to its use and in very excitable subjects, and still more when given in large doses, it sometimes at first displays a transient, often momentary, reaction of a peculiar sort, which, partly on account of its short duration, partly owing to sort, which, partly on account of its short duration, partly owing to its rarity, and partly owing to its very nature, must not be confounded with its characteristic chief and primary action. These rare, momentary, preliminary reactions correspond almost exactly with the secondary action of the organism upon opium (and are, so to speak, a reflexion of this secondary action); deathy paleness, coldness of the limbs or of the whole body, cold perspiration, timorous anxiety, trembling and despair, mucous evacuations from the bowels, transient vomiting or short cough, and very rarely certain kinds of pain.
Hardly any of the peculiar primary effects of opium are observed from large poisonous doses, but this initiatory reaction passes at once, as secondary action, to death, as I myself have seen, and as WILLIS (Pharm. Rat., sect. Vii, cap. I, p, 292) relates.
The oriental indulgers in opium, after sleeping off their opium intoxication, are always in a state of secondary opium action; their mental faculties are much weakened by too frequent indulgence in the drug. Chilly, pale, bloated, trembling, spiritless, weak, stupid, and with a perceptible anxious inward malaise, they stagger in the morning into the tavern to take their allowence of opium pills in order to quicken the circulation of their blood and obtain warmth, to revive their depressed vital spirits, to reanimate their dulled phantasy with some ideas, and to infuse, in a palliative way, some activity into their paralysed muscles.
The symptoms of opium arranged below are mostly secondary action and counter-action of the organism. Physicians who cannot make up their mids to refrain from making a hurtful use of opium in large doses for palliative (anthipathic)purposes, may be encouraged to do so by a pesual of these horrible secondary effects; their feelings of humanity can hardly fail to be shocked by them, and their conscience roused so as to compel them to be better.
The antidotes to dangerous doses of opium are tincture of ipecacuanha, camphor, but especially strong warm infusion of coffee, introduced in large quantities above and below, accompanied by frictions on the body. But when icy coldness of the body, insensibility, and loss of irritability of the muscular fibres have already set in, a (palliative) warm bath must be resorted to.
When opium has been given in large doses in order to allay pains and check diarhoea, and, as not unfrequently occurs, true paralysis of the limbs has been produced, there is no cure for this kind of paralysis, just as paralysis can never be cured by strong electric shocks.
Some of the primary effects of opium last but a few seldom admit of a homoeopathic application in human diseases; but when it is so used a small portion of a drop of the decillion-fold potency suffices for a dose.
[HAHNEMANN”S fellow-observers were CUBITZ, GUTMANN. SCHONIKE, STAPF.]
The following old-school authorities are quoted:
Acta Nat. Cur., iv.
AEPLI, sen in Hufel. Journ., xxiv.
ALIBERT, in Wibmer. Wirkung der Arzneien u, Gifte.
ALPIN, med. Aegypi, iv.
ALSTON, Medical Essays.
BARD, SAM., Diss. de Viribas Opii, Edinb., 1765.
BAUER, in Actea Nat. Cur., ii.
BAUTZMANN, in Misc. Nat. Cur., dec, is, ann. 8.
BAYLIS, Prax. Med., Lib. i.
BERGER, Diss. de vi Opii raifacient., Viteb., 1708.