Preparations. Lead is represented by a number of official salts, must of which are, however, only used externally.
- Plumbi Acetas, Lead Acetate, (Sugar of Lead),—Dose, gr. 1/4-v. Soluble in 2.3 of water, and in 21 of alcohol.
- Liquor Plumbi Subacetatis, Goulard's Extract ,—is never used internally.
- Liquor Plumbi Subacetatis Dilutus, Lead Water. Contains 3 per cent. of the preceding. Used externally, as a mild astringent lotion.
- Plumbi Nitras, Lead Nitrate,—Used externally.
- Plumbi Iodidum, Lead Iodide,—Used as an ointment.
- Plumbi Oxidum, Litharge. Emplastrum Plumbi, Litharge and Ol. Olivae.
- Plumbi Carbonas, White-lead paint. An excellent local application.
Treatment of Lead Poisoning. Acute poisoning, as by the Acetate, of which ℥j is a toxic dose,—the Sodium or Magnesium Sulphate is the antidote; then evacuate the stomach, and give albuminous drinks and Opium to allay irritation. Chronic poisoning is best treated by Iodides to saturation of the system, the Sodium or Calcium Iodide being the best. Sulphurated Potassa baths (℥j or more, in water) are also very useful.
Physiological Action. Astringency is the chief quality of the salts of Lead; they contract muscular tissue, and destroy its contractile power, also lessening secretion they cause colic and constipation. The heart is at first increased in power, but soon slowed, also the respiration. The nervous system is insidiously affected, obscure symptoms, as headache, loss of memory, vertigo, being soon manifested.
- Acute Lead Poisoning is rare, the metal itself not being poisonous unless acted on by acids, and the Acetate in large doses being emetic. Intense gastro-intestinal irritation, vomiting, paralysis, coma, collapse, are its principal phenomena.
- Chronic Lead Poisoning has its chief sources in pure water conveyed by leaden pipes, the use of hair dyes, printing type, etc. Its most prominent symptoms are the blue line (sulphide) along margin of gums, in those who do not clean their teeth, paralysis of the extensor muscles of the forearm (drop-wrist), impaired sensibility, rheumatism without fever or tenderness in the joints,—which, however, are red and swollen,—emaciation, albuminuria, colic, constipation, abortion, gastralgia, aphonia. Death may occur from extension of the muscular paresis to the muscles of respiration from the gradual impairment of nutrition;—or from convulsions and coma, a form of the disease known as Lead Encephalopathy.
Therapeutics. Chiefly used as an astringent and hemostatic. In—
- Skin Diseases, especially eczema, lichen, impetigo, erythema, etc.,—the Liquor Plumbi Subacetatis, part j to iv of Glycerin and Water.
- Catarrhal Discharges of muco-purulent character, from the ear, the vagina and the urethra, especially gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea.
- Burns, of small extent,—are treated by covering with White-lead paint.
- Hemorrhages, as hemoptysis, hematemesis, gastric ulcer, etc.,—the Acetate in 3 to 5-grain doses, every three hours, lowers the heart's action and constringes the local vessels.
- Caseous Pneumonia,—has been well treated by the Acetate internally.
- Bronchorrhoea,—the Acetate for its astringency, limiting the secretion.
- Diarrhoeas,—are commonly treated with the Acetate; gr. ij with gr. j of Pulvis Opii, for choleraic diarrhoea, is good treatment.
- Cardiac Hypertrophy,—the Acetate to lower the action of the heart.
- Inflammations of external parts are constantly treated by the lotion of "Leadwater and Laudanum;"—though the constituents are chemically incompatible, it is a valuable sedative and astringent.
A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.