Selected writings of John M. Scudder.
The days of the resinoids and the "old nastiness," as he terms it, were not forgotten by Dr. Scudder, who for over thirty years had led the fight for representative medicines, when tablets came into the field. These he opposed as being no better at best than the old dried extracts, and he could see no value, as there is none, in evaporated tinctures put up in candy form. Permanent materials are not objectionable in tablet form, if soluble; but physicians soon found that no reliance could be placed upon remedies whose best constituents are evanescent or volatile when put into the lozenge form. Discrimination in the use of tablets had to be learned by bitter experience by many, while men well versed in the properties of good medicines saw early the failure that was sure to ensue from the use of tablets.—Ed. Gleaner.
TABLETS.—Druggists are "on the move," like other people, and they like to work new things on the profession, and make them for a little extra money. Thus we have our table loaded with sample medicines, and clever gentlemen bring them around, talk learnedly of their virtues, and give them away. One might suspect that manufacturers are the most self-sacrificing men, typical Good Samaritans, and are doing all this for the benefit of the hard-worked doctors and their suffering patients. Do you believe it?
Among the many fictions of the year is the presentation of tablets, and the assurance that they are quite as good as fluids, much easier to carry and dispense, and far pleasanter to take.
What is a tablet? If made well, it is powdered sugar and gluten, moistened with a good tincture, and dried. Of course the alcohol has evaporated, and only what it held in suspense, as resin, resinoid, alkaloid, etc., left behind. It does not represent the fluid medicine only as a dried extract might represent it. You remember the days of resins, resinoids, neutral principles, and powdered stuff, in which our indigenous medicines were served to us twenty-five years ago. Whilst some were good, there was a mass of worthless stuff, which almost swamped our school of medicine. Is it possible that "the sow is to return to her wallowing in the mire, and the dog to his vomit?" Not so long as I am able to talk against it.
Twenty-five years of hard work to get rid of the old nastiness, and get reasonably honest medicines, are not forgotten. Nor will our readers forget the advantage they have had from using good medicines. It has lessened their drug bills seventy or eighty per cent; it has given success in curing disease; and it has made the practice of medicine pleasant to both patient and physician.
A good specific medicine is good enough for any one. It contains the remedial qualities of the drug in the best form for preserving and dispensing. Time does not change it, and it will be as good in one or two years as is it to-day. It gives us the small dose, of certain strength, and in the familiar "half glass of water," the pleasantest form for administration. Take my advice, and stick to specific medicines; do not let traveling men persuade you that there is anything better. We do not want anything better.
I have used homoeopathic pellets, and some triturates, and occasionally one may vary the monotony of the water, glass, and spoon, by buying the pellets and medicating them; but when it comes to a wrestle with disease, I always want the fluid medicine of the best manufacture.—SCUDDER, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1893.
The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.