Related entry: Ergot
Ergotinine, C35H39N5O5. is an alkaloid of feebly basic properties, obtained from ergot by extraction of the drug with chloroform or other suitable solvent. It is the anhydride of ergotoxine. Ergotinine occurs in white or colourless crystals, which darken rapidly on exposure to light and air, or on heating to about 210°, and melt at temperatures up to 229°. Solutions of ergotinine are strongly dextrorotatory (+338° for a saturated solution in ethyl alcohol). Prolonged boiling lowers the rotation, as also does the addition of acids and alkalies, apparently on account of transformation to ergotoxine, and possibly also on account of racemisation. Crystalline salts have not, so far, been obtained, as the alkaloid apparently undergoes hydrolysis in attempts to form them. On adding concentrated sulphuric acid to an ether or ethyl acetate solution of the alkaloid, a transient orange colouration is produced, changing to blue. Anhydrous ferric chloride added to its solution in sulphuric acid changes the colour from pale yellow, through orange, crimson, and green, to permanent dark blue. These two reactions, however, are also given by ergotoxine, since the decomposition in both cases is the same. Mayer's reagent precipitates 1 in 1,000,000.
Insoluble in water and petroleum spirit; soluble in alcohol (1 in 312), absolute ether (1 in 1020), acetone (1 in 26), ethyl acetate (1 in 91), boiling benzene (1 in 77); and in chloroform, amyl alcohol, or xylol.
Action and Uses.—The physiological action of commercial ergotinine is so slight as to be negligible; the base does not constrict blood vessels, raise the blood pressure, nor excite uterine contractions, and any action it possesses is probably due to the presence of traces of more active bases. Ergotinine citrate and hydrochloride are sometimes employed in medicine, the citrate, which occurs as a greyish powder and is soluble in water, being the most commonly used salt. A 1 per cent. solution of the citrate, freshly prepared, has been employed for hypodermic use, but injections of ergotinine are much less satisfactory than those of a properly standardised extract of ergot. Ergotinine hydrochloride is a yellowish powder, soluble in water.
Dose.—⅓ to 1 ½ milligrams (1/200 to 1/40 grain).
- Injectio Ergotininae Hypodermica, B.P.C.—HYPODERMIC INJECTION OF ERGOTININE.
- Ergotinine citrate, 0.12 per cent. Five decimils (0.5 milliliters) contains 0.6 milligram of ergotinine citrate (1/100 grain in 8 minims). Dose.—1 to 10 decimils (0.1 to 1.0 milliliters) (2 to 16 minims).