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Pituitary extract.


The responsibility of one who assumes the care of the sick has always been regarded serious, and well it should be. We hail with gladness anything that ameliorates the condition of the afflicted. Especially is this true when we consider the untold pain and misery associated with the mother in child-birth.

Therefore, when we were told of pituitrin and its oxytocic power we were not slow in satisfying ourselves if this was true. I do not think any obstetrician can afford to neglect to investigate the literature on the use of the hypophysis as an oxytocic.

Our German friends have done much to work out its practical application, yet much has been developed by the Austrians. Many of our own people (Americans), have written extensively on its use. The surprising part is that almost all reports have been laudatory, when properly used. When we consider that the pituitary hyperthophies during pregnancy, frequently to twice its normal size, we ask ourselves what effect does this secretion of the hypophysis have on the origin of labor pains, etc. Future investigations will develop much in this line that is unknown to the present age.

The pituitary extract which I have used is one made or prepared by Parke, Davis & Co. It is known as pituitrin. It is put up in ampules for hypodermic use, 1 c.c. each. When given subcutaneously its effect is very quick, often marked in ten to twelve minutes. It is said to be a galactagogue, but I have never noticed this in my own practice. It is non-toxic and non-cumulative, and a prophylactic against vesical atony, and, therefore, catheterization is rarely, if ever, necessary as a post-partum means. The pituitary extract should be given during the second or third stage of labor. Do not give it too soon, for certainly it will have its effect in a very few minutes when given. It is the greatest stimulant to uterine contractions known to me. I think its greatest value is in uterine inertia, and, therefore, it has no place in a normal labor. When used judiciously and with a proper appreciation of the danger of so powerful a remedy it will be a blessing to the child-bearing woman.

National Eclectic Medical Association Quarterly, Vol. 7, 1915-16, was edited by William Nelson Mundy, M.D.

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