Synonym—Diethylsulphonedimethylmethane, Sulfonmethane, Sulfonal.
Administration—The dose is from fifteen to thirty-five grains. Its large dose and insolubility render its administration difficult. It is suspended in mucilage or syrup, and must be administered several hours before its influence is desired.
It is best given in hot solution upon a comparatively empty stomach, as it is only appropriated by decomposition, and not by the rapid absorption of a free solution. Its influence is so slow that often, when given to produce sleep, this influence is not exercised until the night has passed, causing the patient to pass a drowsy, uncomfortable day.
Physiological Action—It is not considered a poisonous agent, and yet much discomfort arises from its use with some patients. Symptoms of a toxic character will appear; difficulty of speech, temporary muscular incoordination, fullness of the head and vertigo; in prolonged cases, physical weakness, mental incapacity, forgetfulness, delusions and mental aberration. It colors the urine a deep red, as it is eliminated by the kidneys, and sometimes produces a characteristic rash on the skin. Its tastelessness is a redeeming quality, as it can be given without the knowledge of the patient. It does not irritate the stomach or bowels, neither does it suppress secretions. It does not affect the digestion or destroy the appetite.
Specific Symptomatology—It is a remedy for sleeplessness when the brain is overcharged and the mind is excited or worried. It is useful in those greatly worried over physical conditions, such as those suffering from gonorrhea or spermatorrhea.
Therapy—It is decidedly a hypnotic, but is not as reliable or as active as chloral, and yet it sometimes succeeds where that agent has failed. It is used in the sleeplessness of alcoholics and in delirium tremens. It has won its reputation largely in this latter condition.
In mania with extreme nervous excitement and general nerve irritation, and in pronounced insanity, it has been widely used with excellent results.
It is useful in prolonged fevers because of its non-irritating and non-depressing character.
It quiets the restlessness of teething children, soothes the gums like the bromides, wards off spasms and induces sleep. It is safe, and the little ones are probably more susceptible to its influence because of increased facility of appropriation. Its tastelessness is in its favor here also.
The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.