HYDRACETIN. — This substance known also as pyrodin (not to be con founded with pyridine), acetyl-phenyl hydrozin, phenyl-acetyl-hydrazin, and phenacethydrazin—is produced by the reaction of phenylhydrazin with acetic anhydride. It occurs in hexagonal prisms or tablets of a silky lustre, with out taste or odor. It is freely soluble in alcohol and chloroform and in 50 parts of water.
Physiological Action and Dose,—Wild has found that this substance is without effect on the voluntary muscles, while upon the heart-muscles in large amounts it acts as a depressant and lowers blood pressure by a direct action on the vaso motor centre, and not by any action on the blood-vessel wall. It acts as a de pressant upon the spinal cord, and lower ing reflex action by its direct effects, and not by acting upon the nerve-trunks. It is a powerful antipyretic, analgesic, and antiparasitic, but an uncertain and dan gerous one. The dose of hydracetin should not exceed to 3 grains per diem, in divided doses.
Poisoning by Hydracetin.—Given in repeated doses, hydracetin has a cumu lative effect, and produces jaundice due to commencing lusmoglobimemia, with malaria, weakness, and a kind of angina. Less than 4 grains has produced cyano sis of the face and extremities, coldness of the latter, reduction of the tempera ture to 95° F., profuse sweats, accelera tion and then retardation of the pulse, and an almost complete disappearance of the pulse and respiration. The urine becomes intensely dark red in color, and contains metimnoglobin, urobilin, and masses of amorphous, reddish-brown granules. The red corpuscles become discolored and show little tendency to form roulcaux. It is a powerful blood poison, its distinctive action on the red corpuscles being analogous to that of chlorate of potassium, pyrogallol, etc. Grave anmia results, even from external use of this drug.
Treatment of Poisoning by Hydracetin. —Acute poisoning calls for the use of cardiac and respirative stimulants, heat, respiration, and evacuation of the stom ach. Chronic poisoning has been suc
cessfully treated by the free use of milk, followed by ferruginous and other tonic remedies.
Therapeutics.—Hydracetin has been used internally in rheumatic and other fevers, locomotor ataxia, and neuralgias. In a 10-per-cent. ointment it has been used in psoriasis.
The use of this remedy is attended so much danger, and requires the exercise of such great caution, that its employment is strongly advised against, since it possesses no advantage over other remedies already in use. Further experi ment with this drug should be aban doned.
HYDRASTIS.—Hydrastis, U. S. P., is the rhizome and rootlets of Hydrastis Canadensis, or golden seal. It is a small, perennial herb found in rich, moist woodlands throughout the United States, mostly in the northern and western por tions. The dried herb has little odor and a peculiar, bitter taste. Hydrastis contains two principal alkaloids, hydras tine and berberine: a third alkaloid, xanthopuccine, is found in very small quantity. Although berberine is found in greater amount than hydrastine, the latter is the characteristic alkaloid. Ber berine is found in numerous other plants (Berberis vulgaris et al.).
Hydrastine crystallizes in white, four sided rhombic prisms; it also occurs in an amorphous form. When pure it is almost tasteless, being very sparingly soluble in water, but freely soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, and benzin (benzole). It forms salts with the acid, which are acid and bitter.
Hydrastine is an artificial alkaloid produced from hydrastis by a process of oxidation. It also forms salts, one of which is official, the hydrochlorate (hy drastininte hydrochloras, U. S. P.); this salt is soluble in water.
Berberine crystallizes in yellow needles which have a bitter taste. It is soluble in hot water and alcohol, but insoluble in ether.
Preparations and Doses.—Extract of hydrastis, fluid, to 2 drachms. Glycerite of hydrastis.