Santonine is excreted by the kidneys, and will sometimes cause irritation and partial arrest of secretion. It always colors the urine, and sometimes the color is so deep (green or blue) that people are frightened. It also affects the brain, sometimes causing giddiness, and disturbed vision, everything seeming green or blue to the patient.
It is especially for retention of urine, from atony of the bladder, that we prescribe it. It is probable that this wrong is due to deficient spinal innervation, and we sometimes have impaired respiration and tympanitis from the same cause, and for which Santonine may prove a remedy.
Retention of urine is not an uncommon symptom in the advanced stages of acute diseases of children. It is always an unpleasant symptom, for if not noticed and promptly relieved, the disease will terminate unfavorably. Here Santonine in doses of one-quarter to one-half grain, triturated with sugar, is specific. It acts promptly, sometimes giving relief with the first dose, but it should be repeated until the water passes freely.
It is also the remedy in difficult micturition and retention following parturition, and its early use will save the physician much trouble, and the woman much suffering. I do not claim, of course, that it will give relief where the tissues have lost their life by the long continued pressure of the head in difficult labor. But I am satisfied that its early use may prevent sloughing in some cases, when the ordinary want of knowledge allows retention of urine, the collection and putrescence of uterine discharges, and the general condition of dustiness that is allowed in many cases.
Whilst Santonine is not cleanliness, and not a topical antiseptic, it is one-third (and a very important third) of a good treatment.
The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.