Selected writings of A. Jackson Howe.
This article should be read and pondered over by those who recklessly use quinine and other powerful agents without specific reasons for their exhibition. Without question, much harm has resulted from the excessive and unjustifiable use of quinine, and the penalty has been severe. People can tipple with drugs as well as with alcoholics, and Professor Howe strikes a common evil—cinchomania—in such a manner as to carry conviction of its pernicious and baleful effects.—Ed. Gleaner.
CINCHOMANIA.—A potent remedy is liable to be taken in overdoses, or during too prolonged periods, and quinine is such an agent. Since it has become fashionable to be malarious, society people must cinchonize—they must have an innocent tipple. Everybody feels bad by times—feels chilly, nervous, and vitally depressed; and instead of waiting till the ill-turn passes off—till the stomach resumes its wonted activity—the sufferer takes a few grains of encapsuled quinia. In the course of time a cinchonous habit is established. The partaker doesn't feel quite well till quinia influences the nervous system, and at length cinchomania is acquired. The minister can not do himself justice in the pulpit unless he takes ten grains of quinia before going to church. And so it goes through all grades of the "better classes"—all must indulge in the bitter drug. If a faltering fidgetiness be initiated, and harm be acknowledged, the doctor is blamed—he prescribed quinine at first, and the patient kept on taking the medicine till a necessity for its continuance was felt. The cinchomaniac may be a good citizen, may even be a Christian gentleman and be noted for kindness of heart, yet he is not what he should and could be—he is mentally and physically impaired. Now, if the morbid disposition to fuddle on quinine be due to the advice of physicians, it is high time a halt was called in such kinds of professional abuse. Medical men have become cautious about making inebriates with alcohol and opium, but have lapsed into the fault of prescribing quinine in most every ill. As a general rule a remedy which does marked good in certain forms of disease will do harm in states of health.—HOWE, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1888.