Syn.—Arsenic, acidum arseniosum, arsenious acid.
Physiological action: Locally applied it acts as an irritant and escharotic. Applied to a large surface diluted it may be absorbed and give rise to symptoms of arsenic poisoning. Taken internally in toxic doses it may have such a profound action in some cases as to cause profound narcosis immediately. If not, its toxic effect will manifest itself as follows: It powerfully irritates the gastrointestinal tract, causing burning pain in the throat and stomach salivation, metallic taste in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, thirst, great pain, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract; albumen in the urine, feeble pulse, great anxiety, rapid, oppressed breathing, cold and clammy sweat, cold breath, delirium, convulsions, and finally death. The symptoms resemble somewhat those of cholera. In small doses it promotes appetite and digestion, increases peristaltic action, intestinal secretion, respiration and heart's action, exalts mental activity. In large or long continued medicinal doses it will cause itching of the skin and skin eruptions, swelling of the eyelids, salivation, nausea, vomiting, dyspnea, pain and soreness in the epigastric region, diarrhea, jaundice, impaired sensibility, albuminuria. As the habit of using it may be formed it should be used with discretion. Water, if taken with it, will increase its rapid absorption. Symptoms of chronic arsenic poison caused by inhalation, which may be from the dust of wall paper or other cause are colicky pains, cough, dysentery, irritation of the eyes, white tongue more of a silver gloss, coryza and general prostration. A valuable remedy when indicated, but should be used with care and not when contra-indicated. The best, and, as a general rule, the only form to administer this drug, is in the 3x to 12x homeopathic trituration. In most cases, but especially in diseases where there are malarial conditions to be taken into consideration the chininum ars., 2x is the best form to administer, in fact the author has given this almost exclusively.
Indication and use: In edematous or engorged conditions of the cellular tissues of the body accompanied by a lack of elasticity of the tissues and skin; in those conditions where the skin has lost its elasticity, where when it is raised with the fingers it does not spring back as normally. The tissues look puffy and unnatural; also with the above indications where there is an abnormal, unnatural increase in tissue so often met with, especially in women at the climateric. In debilitated conditions, conditions following malaria it exerts on the nerve centers and the sympathetic nervous system a marked tonic influence. It will cure malaria where quinine fails; however, in these conditions chininum ars. 3x is the best form to use. Arsenic taken on an empty stomach is carried directly to the liver by the veins. If not empty it is carried to the general circulation by the lacteals which absorb it. It promotes the flow of digestive fluids and tones up the stomach. We think of it in disease marked by exhausted vitality; intermittent fever and typhoid fever with great thirst and debility. Stomach and bowel troubles, with burning pain, atonic dyspepsia, gastralgia, ulcers of the stomach, severe vomiting, diarrhea with watery green or dark burning stool; diarrhea in greatly run-down conditions of nervous nature or origin, shreds of mucus passing with stool and large evacuations. In some cases of dropsical complaints it acts well. In skin diseases of the scaly nature with burning attended with discharge of thin, watery fluid; obstinate ulcers with burning or itching or with a bloody, thin or fetid discharge; also of benefit in colds, influenza and bronchitis with difficult expectoration where there is marked exhaustion of the vital forces. In cholera it no doubt is a valuable remedy. Arsenic is claimed to be a preventive of variola, cholera and yellow fever, especially the latter two. In order to be effective as a preventive in time of epidemics "acid arsenious" 1/100 of a grain 3 times a day the first week; twice a day the second week and once a day thereafter during an epidemic.
The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.