Drug diseases are almost a daily problem for the homoeopathic prescriber, masking or complicating the genuine symptoms of the disease. An antidote must be given before a correct prescription is possible. Several months ago the question of the best method of finding this antidote was asked in The Homoeopathic Recorder, and correctly answered, namely, by fitting a remedy to the symptoms present at the time.
For even if one or more antidotes have been recorded, we cannot be certain of the action of any one of them unless it shows at least some homoeopathicity to the case. Dunham once said that if the symptoms that were present before the drug was administered, can be ascertained, the remedy they indicate will often remove both genuine and spurious disease manifestations. But these manifestations are not always easy to obtain.
In the earlier years of our school, “Shot-gun” prescriptions and large doses of quinine, Fowlers solution or calomel claimed our attention. Now it is chiefly the baneful effects of alkaloids, neosalvarsan, the coal-tar derivatives and the more insidious sera and vaccines. The latter are especially difficult to deal with.
It is not my purpose to enter into any extended discussion of this subject, but to present a few cases that may prove interesting and instructive.
Recurrent attacks of dermatitis exfoliata since taking quinine when a young girl. She wanted every physician who treated her that she was unable to take the smallest amount of quinine without experiencing its effects on the skin, but some of them refused to believe her story, with the inevitable result-a redness, burning and itching, first on the face, neck and chest, then on the forearms and hands. Soon exfoliation would begin, first in small scales, later large ones, even to great flakes two or three inches in diameter. Even after coming under the treatment of a good homoeopathic physician the attacks continued to recur, usually after some circumstance that caused grief or worry, although she had not taken any of the drug.
Rhus radicans in varying potencies over the period of nine, or ten months cured.
Mrs. O.H.T., 30 years of age, presented the most violent erythema that I have ever witnessed. She was scarlet from head to foot, with the exception of a few areas about the nose and mouth. She stated that she was recovering from a severe cold which she called the flu.
Intense burning which caused her to loss about the bed in agony. Extreme thirst for cold water. A hot bath gave temporary relief. Though sensitive to the cold she could not bear the least covering on account of the terrible burning.
Several areas of an old psoriasis a first obscured the diagnosis, but closer observation revealed a peeling of the epidermis much thinner, smoother and in larger flakes than those of the chronic eruption. The thickened epidermis on the soles of the feet had begun to separate from the true skin at the edges, giving the appearance of whitish-grey sandals.
Remembering the experience of Mrs. W.H.S., I asked the patient if she had taken bromo-quinine for her cold. She answered in the affirmative.
The burning, restlessness, thirst, Chilliness and character of the lesions called for Rhus tox., which was given in the 1M potency. She made a rapid recovery.
This case, almost identical with the one just related and from the same cause, received the 10M of the same remedy. The involved area was less extensive, affecting only the face, neck, chest, forearms and hands. The remedy checked its progress in a few hours and a second visit was unnecessary.
This is an unusual instance of poisoning by an alkaloid, scopalamine, and should be a warning to those specialists who are substituting this drug for atropine.
Mrs. S., aged 37, consulted a well-known oculist who instilled a few drops of scopalamine into her eyes as a mydriatic. In a few hours her heart began to beat rapidly as though she had been hurrying. This was followed by spells of palpitation, as she expressed it, “going up into the throat”, with oppression of breathing, pain in a spot over the left scapula, vertigo blurred vision, soreness of the upper part of the eyeballs and sensation as if the right eye were being drawn out.
Frequent desire to take a deep breath. Shuddering. For two or three nights she wakened in horror and with oppressed breathing. Lachesis relieved considerably, but in three weeks she returned complaining of the same symptoms, and stated that the aching in the left scapula was better from pressure and the vertigo aggravated by stooping.
A close study of the symptoms led to Physostigma ven., which was given in the 200th potency. This was followed by immediate and entire cessation of all symptoms. In one month the Physostigma had to be repeated and she was apparently in good health until the following spring, an interval of five months. At this visit she complained of heaviness of the eyelids, in addition to the heart symptoms. Three doses of Physostigma 200th were administered, with benefit, but even now, nearly a year after the scopalamine was used, she has an occasional spell of palpitation, but will not take medicine for it.
CASES 5 and 6.
Two little girls, aged five and seven, having been exposed to diphtheria, were given prophylactic injections of antitoxin. In a few hours their faces became red and the temperatures mounted to 103 and 104. They became delirious, running about like horses, and barking like two little dogs. The identical nature of the two cases may have been a coincidence or due to suggestion, but Belladonna was clearly the remedy and the condition vanished under its action, as quickly as it had appeared.
Poisoning with streptococcus serum.
This case is unique and stands as an object lesson which should impress the staunchest advocate of serum therapy. Mrs. Phoebe G., aged 68, would gladly appear in person to testify to the horrible nightmare from which homoeopathy has rescued her, if she did not live a thousand miles away.
Nineteen years ago she contracted an infection which was diagnosed as streptococcic. I have not a complete record of her early symptoms, but she had pains all over the body. Red blotches broke out on the legs below the knees, changing later to brown and then to yellow. This was followed by numbness of the lower limbs and finally paralysis.
Arms and legs began to atrophy and the joints cracked when moved. She was a helpless cripple.
A well known woman nerve specialist was consulted and pronounced the case one of the worst forms of multiple neuritis. She proceeded to give opiates, an auto-vaccine hypodermically and cathartics, until the bowels were moving eight times a day! On her recommendation, the tonsils were removed.
Two Wassermanns showed a 5 percent plus, although there was no history or clinical evidence in either the patient or her husband. Whether there was actually some general taint which might be a factor in the case, I do not know. Two Wassermanns might seem to be conclusive. At any rate, I ignored the possibility in making my prescription.
After three months of Swedish massage and an occasional injection of the auto-vaccine, Mrs. G. was comparatively free from pain and could walk a little, but she was by no means cured.
In 1919 she had an attack of boils on the forearms and a severe metrorrhagia. She came in to the hands of a so-called homoeopathic surgeon, who diagnosed fibroid of the uterus, which he treated with radium and an injection of “twilight sleep” (according to the patient).
She met with an accident some time in 1923. A large dog knocked her down. She fell, striking forcibly on the sacrum, and a huge lump developed. For a year and a half thereafter she was treated by a chiropractor with some benefit, but the swelling was not reduced, and the neuritis remained, in milder form. She was taken to California in the winter of 1927-28. An old school physician administered acetyl-salicylic acid and later a stock streptococcus serum, which caused the absorption of the lump on the sacrum and “cured” the last vestiges of the neuritis. But behold the marvelous efficiency of scientific medicine! The physical symptoms were helped by a mental derangement that lasted several weeks. However, it passed off and they returned to their home in Chicago. A patient of mine suggested that they try homoeopathy, but I was in Europe at the time, and they went to a physician who had been recommended by the one one the coast, bringing a letter detailing the former treatment. Another round of the streptococcic serum resulted in a recrudescence of the mental symptoms.
In addition to the history already related Mrs. G.presented the following.
Imagines that she is going to the poor-house; that she had forever ruined her daughter;s happiness by confiding to a neighbor ruined her daughters happiness by confiding to a neighbor her objection to the daughters finance whose business had taken him to South America, whereas no one had been seen to enter the house. She wept, talked incessantly, chiefly about her delusion and prowled around the house at night calling “Richard”, the young mans name. She had sinking spells, hot flushes, palpitation rousing her from sleep, and a return of sexual desire with burning in the uterus, though the menopause had long passed.