DIGITALIS (also STROPHANTHUS, CONVALLARIA, and SCOPARIUS). —Effects : Nausea, vomiting, pain in the stomach, excessive weakness, faint ing, and collapse. The pulse-rate varies from rapid to slow, and the slightest motion of the patient may cause the heart to act with such irregularity that instant death may occur. Where poisoning is clue to accumulation (that is, following prolonged administration of otherwise safe doses), headache, nausea, flickering before the eyes, sleeplessness, and ringing or roaring in the cars are the predominating symptoms. Antidotes and Treatment : Empty the stomach by means of an emetic or the pump, and then give the patient some strong tea or coffee or about thirty grains of gallic acid in water. Five drops of tincture of aconite by the mouth, or a hypodermic injection of .A„ of a grain of nitrate of aconitine may give good results, in which case it should be repeated in about half an hour. The patient must be kept flat in bed, and not be allowed to move. Stimulants should be given frequently, by rectum if necessary. If poisoning is due to accumulation, opium is the best antidote,
but should, of course, be determined only by a physician.
ERGOT.—Effects : Salivation, retching, vomiting, diarrhoea, nervousness, headache and dizziness. The stools are usually brownish, and the vomitus slimy. There is a feeling as of ants crawling over the limbs, the skin is generally cold and clammy, and there are disturbances of sight. In severe cases convulsions, delirium and unconsciousness may occur. For the chronic variety of ergot-poisoning, see the article in Volume I., page 404. Antidotes and Treatment : Empty the stomach by means of an emetic or the stomach pump, and administer a drastic purgative, such as one drop of croton-oil. After vomiting and purging, it is advisable to administer small doses of opium at intervals. The patient should remain in a reclining position, and be kept warm. Massage may be given to increase circulation. Amyl nitrite is a recognised stimulant in this condition.