Opium, B.P. Opium.

Botanical name: 

Related entries: Opium - Poppy Capsules - Cotarnine - Cotarnine Hydrochloride - Morphine - Morphine Acetate - Morphine Hydrochloride - Morphine Sulphate - Morphine Tartrate - Narceine - Narcotine - Red poppy petals - Meconic acid

Opium is the inspissated juice obtained from the capsules of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, Linn. (N.O. Papaveraceae). The plants are indigenous to Asia Minor, and cultivated largely in European and Asiatic Turkey, Persia, India, and China, for the production of opium. All parts of the plant, but particularly the walls of the capsules, contain a branching and anastomosing system of laticiferous vessels, filled with a white latex. After the petals have fallen from the flowers, transverse, oblique, or vertical incisions are made in the wall of the unripe capsules, care being taken not to penetrate to the interior. The exuded juice, partially dried, is collected by scraping, the scrapings being formed eventually into cakes, which are wrapped in poppy leaves or paper, and further dried in the sun. The white, milky juice darkens during the drying. Turkey opium, which for pharmaceutical use is the most important variety, occurs in rounded (Smyrna) or flattened (Constantinople) masses enveloped in poppy leaves, and covered with the reddish-brown, triangular, winged fruits of a species of Rumex, to prevent the cakes from adhering to one another. These cakes vary in weight from 250 to 1000 grammes or more. Internally, fresh Turkey opium is granular and of a rich light brown or reddish-brown colour. It has a strong, characteristic odour and bitter taste. Persian opium, the only other variety of opium regularly imported into this country, is kneaded into a homogeneous mass, which is then divided into bluntly conical cakes weighing from 200 to 400 grammes, or brick-shaped masses of varying weight; these are usually wrapped in red paper, and tied round with string. Persian opium is sometimes, but not often, seen in sticks or flat cakes, wrapped in white paper. It may be distinguished from Turkey opium, apart from the different packing, by its perfectly homogeneous (not granular) nature. It is often oily, the oil being apparently added after the collection of the juice. Much of it is exported to South America and elsewhere for smoking. Indian opium is prepared by partially drying the juice, beating the resulting adhesive and granular paste into a homogeneous mass, and forming it into cakes, which are then wrapped in paper. The product is not suitable for medicinal purposes. Indian opium is usually nearly black, homogeneous, and of less agreeable aroma than Turkey opium. It occurs in rounded balls, weighing about 8 ounces (Malwa opium), or in square blocks weighing nearly 2 pounds, and wrapped in oiled paper (Patna, or Benares opium). Opium intended for exportation to China is made into balls about the size of a small Dutch cheese, which are enveloped in a casing made from poppy petals. But little Indian opium, however, reaches the English market. The use of any suitable variety of opium is officially permitted for preparing the tincture and the extract, provided that the dry drug contains not less than 7.5 per cent. of morphine, but opium that is used for other officially recognised purposes must contain between 9.5 and 10.5 per cent. of morphine calculated upon the opium dried at 100°. Opium yielding more than 10 per cent. of morphine may be diluted to this strength with an opium containing between 7.5 and 10 per cent. or with milk sugar. The permission thus given to use an Indian (or other) opium for the purposes of dilution has not resulted in the importation of increased quantities of this variety. On the other hand, the demand now generally made by European pharmacopoeias for an opium containing 10 per cent. of morphine is supplied by inferior grades of Turkey opium, and by opium adjusted to contain this proportion of morphine. Opium, U.S.P., must yield in its normal, moist condition, not less than 9 per cent. of crystallised morphine. Opii Pulvis, U.S.P., contains from 12 to 12.5 per cent. of morphine. Opium Deodoratum, U.S.P., is prepared by repeated maceration, and subsequent percolation, of powdered opium with purified petroleum benzin, the opium being subsequently dried by exposure to the air. Opium Granulatum, U.S.P., consists of opium dried at a temperature not exceeding 85°, and reduced to No. 20 powder. The average dose of opium, U.S.P., is 10 centigrams (1 ½ grains), and that of powdered opium, deodorised opium, and granulated opium, 65 milligrams (1 grain). The Brussels Conference agreed that powdered opium should be dried at a temperature of 60° and should have an alkaloidal strength of 10 per cent. of morphine.

Constituents.—The chief constituent of opium is the alkaloid morphine, which occurs in proportion varying from 4 to 18 per cent. of the dry opium, but seldom exceeds the latter figure. It exists in combination with meconic and sulphuric acids in the form of salts readily soluble in water. Unsophisticated Turkey opium of good quality contains from 12 to 16 per cent. of morphine calculated upon the dried drug. Lower qualities yield from 8 to 12 per cent. Persian opium of good quality contains about 10 to 12 per cent., occasionally as much as 16 per cent., of morphine. Indian opium contains less, viz., 4 to 8.5 per cent. Narcotine, which exists partly in the free state, partly as a salt, ranges from 1.5 to 12.5 per cent., but usually from 2 to 8 per cent. Codeine exists to the extent of 0.3 to 1.9 per cent. in combination with acids. The remaining alkaloids constitute about 1 per cent. of the drug. They include thebaine, narceine, papaverine, meconidine, codamine, laudanine, laudanosine, lanthopine, protopine, cryptopine, rhoeadine, oxynarcotine, pseudomorphine, gnoscopine, xanthaline, tritopine, hydrocotarnine, hydroxycodeine, and possibly others. They exist partly in the free state, and partly combined with meconic and sulphuric acids. Meconin, meconoidin, and opionin are indifferent substances, existing in small proportions only. Other constituents of opium are mucilage, sugar, wax, and caoutchouc, together with salts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, but starch, tannin, calcium oxalate, and fat, do not normally occur in opium, and their presence therefore indicates sophistication. Opium is not infrequently sophisticated, leaden shot, starch, sugary fruits, portions of the capsules and other vegetable substances or debris having been found in it. The moisture present in the drug varies from 7 to 24 per cent. Exhausted with water, opium should give an infusion which is acid in reaction; it should leave about 36 per cent. of insoluble residue and yield from 45 to 55 per cent. of dry aqueous extract; the latter should contain most of the morphine present in the drug (constituting about 25 per cent. of the extract). The insoluble residue, examined under the microscope, should not contain more than insignificant quantities of starch and of the outer epidermis of the poppy capsule, portions of which are removed by the scraping and are more frequent in Turkish than in Indian opium. Persian opium often contains notable proportions of starch.

Action and Uses.—The action of opium is virtually that of morphine (see under Morphina); the other alkaloids are present in so small a proportion that they do not appreciably modify its effects. The important alkaloids of opium have in all cases a narcotic action, the action decreasing according to the order of the alkaloids in the following series:—Morphine, papaverine, codeine, narcotine, thebaine. On the other hand, increase of reflexes is a gradually increasing feature of the later members of the group, until in thebaine the stimulating action on the spinal cord entirely overshadows the depressant action on the cerebral hemispheres. The action of opium is exerted less rapidly than that of morphine, as absorption appears to take place less readily. Upon the intestine the action is, therefore, more prolonged and more marked than that of morphine, and on this account preparations of opium are preferred in the treatment of diarrhoea and intestinal disorders. Opium is employed externally as Emplastrum Opii and Linimentum Opii, or the tincture is added to lotions, often with solution of subacetate of lead. The opium alkaloids have, however, no action on motor or sensory nerve endings, and any good effect from their external application is due to absorption, or to warmth and counter- irritation. The solid and liquid extracts and tincture of opium are the usual forms for use internally as hypnotics, and to allay pain. As a diaphoretic, it is given in the form of Dover's Powder in the early stages of colds, the dose being taken in a cachet or powder. For the intestinal action of opium, Pilula Plumbi cum Opio, Pulvis Cretae Aromaticus cum Opio, and Pulvis Kino Compositus are employed. Pilula Saponis Composita is a mild sedative; Pilula Ipecacuanhae cum Scilla, Tinctura Camphorae Composita, and Tinctura Opii Ammoniata are expectorants for use in coughs and colds. Lead and opium suppositories are used to relieve rectal and pelvic pain, and gall and opium ointment is a favourite -application to inflamed piles. Children are very susceptible to the action of opium. To those under the age of five years it should only be given with great caution and in very small doses. Opium is incompatible with alkali carbonates, salts of lead (though frequently prescribed therewith), copper, iron, mercury, and zinc, and with vegetable astringents. The antidotes for use in cases of poisoning by opium are described under Morphina.

Dose.—3 to 12 centigrams (½ to 2 grains).


Also: Tannic Acid and Opium Urethral Bougies - Codeine Jelly - Linctus of Codeine - Opiate Linctus - Squill and Opium Mixture

Acetum Opii, B.P.C.—VINEGAR OF OPIUM. Syn.—Black Drop.
Opium 10; nutmeg 3; refined sugar, 20; diluted acetic acid, to 100. Dose.—3 to 6 decimils (0.3 to 0.6 milliliters) (5 to 10 minims).
Acetum Opii, U.S.P.—Similar to B.P.C., but made with diluted acetic acid (6 per cent.).
Confectio Opii, B.P., 1885.—CONFECTION OF OPIUM.
Compound powder of Opium, 25; syrup, 75. Confection of opium is given in diarrhoea unaccompanied by inflammation, and in flatulent colic. It contains 2.5 per cent. of opium. Dose.—3 to 12 decigrams (5 to 20 grains).
Emplastrum Opii, B.P.—OPIUM PLASTER.
Opium, in very fine powder, 10; resin plaster, 90. Melt the plaster on a water-bath; gradually stir in the opium. Opium plaster is used to relieve local pain in rheumatism, neuralgia, and sciatica. In reality, however, neither opium nor morphine has any peripheral effect on sensory nerve-endings; they can only act, after absorption, by their effect on the brain.
Emplastrum Opii, U.S.P.—OPIUM PLASTER, U.S.P.
Extract of opium, 6; water, 8; adhesive plaster, 90. The product weighs 100.
Enema Opii, B.P., 1885.ENEMA OF OPIUM.
Tincture of opium, ½ fluid drachm; mucilage of starch, 2 fluid ounces. This enema should be administered warm. It is intended to be absorbed as a local or general sedative, generally with the object of inhibiting intestinal movements.
Extractum Opii, B.P.—EXTRACT OF OPIUM.
Opium, in slices, 200; distilled water, 1500. Exhaust the opium by repeated maceration with the distilled water, using one-third of the water on each occasion, macerating for twenty-four hours, and expressing the liquid, Mix the three liquids, strain through flannel, and evaporate to about 100. The product should contain 20 per cent. of morphine. If stronger, it should be diluted with water or milk sugar; if weaker, it may be mixed with a stronger extract so as to produce a preparation of proper strength and consistence. Extract of opium is used principally in pill form for its sedative and anodyne properties. It is often combined with mercurials when these are to be taken for long periods, to diminish their action on the bowels. It is used in pessaries containing 12 centigrams (2 grains) each, and in suppositories containing 6 centigrams (1 grain) each. The pessaries may be prepared with the gelato-glycerin basis, suppositories with oil of theobroma, the extract being rubbed into a thin paste with water before mixing with the basis. Dose.—15 to 60 milligrams (¼ to 1 grain).
Extractum Opii, P.I.—EXTRACT OF OPIUM, P.I.
Strength 20 per cent. of morphine.
Extractum Opii, U.S.P.—EXTRACT OF OPIUM, U.S.P.
A powdered extract, standardised by the addition of milk sugar to contain 20 per cent. of morphine. Average dose.—30 milligrams (½ grain).
Extractum Opii Liquidum, B.P.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF OPIUM.
Extract of Opium, 3.75; alcohol, 20; distilled water, 80. Add the water to the extract, mix, and set aside for an hour, stirring at frequent intervals; then add the alcohol, and filter after setting aside for twenty-four hours in a cool place. The product should measure 100, and contain the equivalent of 0.7 to 0.8 per cent. of anhydrous morphine. Contains the same proportion of morphine as tincture of opium, but is much weaker in alcohol; to the latter difference is due its advantage over the tincture for many purposes. It is used in mixtures for its sedative properties, being preferred to the tincture by many practitioners. Dose.—¼ to 2 mils (5 to 30 minims).
Linctus Camphorae Compositus, B.P.C.—COMPOUND LINCTUS OF CAMPHOR.
Compound tincture of camphor, 25; emulsion of chloroform, 12.5; syrup of Virginian prune, 20; oxymel of squill, 20; solution of cochineal, 1.04; concentrated infusion of senega, to 100. Dose.—2 to 8 mils (½ to 2 fluid drachms).
Linimentum Opii, B.P.—LINIMENT OF OPIUM.
Tincture of opium, 1; liniment of soap, 1. Mix the tincture with the liniment, and filter, after allowing to stand for a few days. Liniment of opium is used as an anodyne application for rubbing painful joints, sprains and contusions.
Linimentum Opii Ammoniatum, B.P.C.—AMMONIATED LINIMENT OF OPIUM.
Ammoniated liniment of camphor, 30; tincture of Opium, 30; liniment of belladonna, 5, strong solution of ammonia, 5; liniment of soap to 100. A stimulating liniment for use in rheumatism, lumbago, and sciatica.
Opium, in small pieces, 10; calcium hydroxide, 1.5; alcohol, 20; sherry, 15; distilled water, a sufficient quantity; alcohol (60 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. The flavour and aroma of this preparation are much improved by keeping for some time before use, a period of six months having been recommended for maturing the solution. It is prescribed by many practitioners in preference to Extractum Opii Liquidum and Tinctura Opii, for internal use, although it has the same action as those preparations. Dose.—3 to 10 decimils (0.3 to 1.0 milliliters) (5 to 15 minims), for repeated administration; for a single administration 1 to 2 mils (15 to 30 minims).
Liquor Opii Sedativus, C.F.—SEDATIVE SOLUTION OF OPIUM, C.F. Syn.—Sedative Liquid.
Extract of opium, 7.28; alcohol (95 per cent.), 15.6; water, sufficient to produce 100. Dissolve the extract in 40 of boiling water. Cool the solution, add the alcohol and 40 of cold water, filter and add sufficient water to produce 100. Each fluid drachm represents 4 grains of extract of opium.
Pilula Saponis Composita, B.P.—COMPOUND PILL OF SOAP.
Opium, in powder, 20; hard soap, in powder, 60; syrup of glucose, 20. This pill mass contains 20 per cent. of opium (⅖ grain in 2 grains). This pill was formerly known, and is sometimes prescribed, as Pilula Opii. Dose.—12 to 24 centigrams (2 to 4 grains).
Pilulae Opii, U.S.P.—PILLS OF OPIUM.
Powdered opium, 6.5 grammes; hard soap, in fine powder, 2 grammes; water, a sufficient quantity. To make 100 pills. Each pill contains opium, 65 milligrams (1 grain). Average dose.—1 pill.
Pulvis Opii Compositus, B.P.—COMPOUND POWDER OF OPIUM. Syn.—Compound Opium Powder.
Opium, 3; black pepper, 4; ginger, 10; caraway fruit, 12; tragacanth, 1; all in powder. This preparation is employed usually in the form of Confectio Opii, for diarrhoea and colic. It contains 10 per cent. of opium. Dose.—1 to 6 decigrams (2 to 10 grains).
Pulvis Opii et Ipecacuanhae Compositus, P.I.—COMPOUND POWDER OF OPIUM AND IPECACUANHA, P.I. Syn.—Pulvis Doveri.
Strength 10 per cent. of powdered opium.
Syrupus Camphorae Compositus, B.P.C.—COMPOUND SYRUP OF CAMPHOR.
Camphor, 0.04; oil of anise, 0 04; benzoic acid, 0.05; glacial acetic acid, 0.57; tincture of opium, 1.66; vinegar of ipecacuanha, 6.25; vinegar of squill, 6.25; refined sugar, 70; burnt sugar, 0.3; distilled water, to 100. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Tablettae Opii, B.P.C.—OPIUM TABLETS. 1 grain.
Dose.—1 or 2 tablets.
Tablettae Saponis Compositae, B.P.C.—COMPOUND SOAP TABLETS.
Each tablet contains opium, 1 grain, and soap, 3 grains.
Tinctura Camphorae Composita, B.P.—COMPOUND TINCTURE OF CAMPHOR. Syn.—Paregoric Elixir; Paregoric; Tinctura Opii Camphorata; Camphorated Tincture of Opium.
Tincture of opium, 6.09; benzoic acid, 0.46; camphor, 0.34; oil of anise, 0.31; alcohol (60 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Compound tincture of camphor is used to allay cough. It is a good preparation of opium for administration to children, and contains the equivalent of about 1/40 grain of anhydrous morphine in 1 fluid drachm. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Tinctura Opii. B.P.—TINCTURE OF OPIUM. Syn.—Laudanum; Tinctura Thebaica.
Opium, 7.5; alcohol, a sufficient quantity; distilled water, a sufficient quantity. Make the opium into a paste by the addition of 25 of distilled water heated to about 94°, set aside for six hours, add 25 of alcohol, mix, and set aside for twenty-four hours; then strain off the liquid, press the residue, mix the liquids, again set aside for twenty-four hours, and filter. Finally standardise, and adjust the strength of the tincture, by the addition of a mixture of equal volumes of alcohol and distilled water, so that the finished product, which will measure about 100, shall contain 0.75 per cent. w/v of anhydrous morphine. Tinctura Opii contains the soluble matter of about 1 grain of opium in 15 minims. It is especially used in preference to the solutions of morphine to allay gastric and abdominal pain, in diarrhoea and dysentery, and wherever delayed absorption is desirable. Dose.—3 to 10 decimils (0.3 to 1.0 milliliters) (5 to 15 minims) for repeated administration; for a single administration 1 ½ to 2 mils (20 to 30 minims).
Tinctura Opii, P.I.—TINCTURE OF OPIUM, P.I.
Strength 1 per cent. of morphine. Prepared by percolation with alcohol (70 per cent.).
Tinctura Opii, U.S.P.—TINCTURE OF OPIUM, U.S.P.; Laudanum.
Granulated opium (containing 12 to 12.5 per cent. of crystallisable morphine), 10; alcohol (95 per cent.), 40; distilled water, a sufficient quantity; alcohol (49 per cent.), to 100. Boiling water, 40, is poured on the opium, the whole weighed and macerated for twelve hours, with occasional stirring; then cold water is added to make up to original weight, the product is mixed with the alcohol (95 per cent.), and again macerated for forty-eight hours, then percolated, adding alcohol (49 per cent.), until the percolate measures 100. Average dose.—5 decimils (0.5 milliliters) (8 minims).
Tinctura Opii Ammoniata, B.P.—AMMONIATED TINCTURE OF OPIUM. Syn.—Scotch Paregoric.
Tincture of opium, 15; benzoic acid, 2.06; oil of anise, 0.625; solution of ammonia, 20; alcohol, sufficient to produce 100. Add the benzoic acid and oil of anise to 60 of alcohol, dissolve, add the tincture and the solution of ammonia, shake well, filter, and add sufficient of the alcohol to make up to the required volume. Ammoniated tincture of opium contains the soluble matter of about 0.62 grain of opium in 1 fluid drachm. This preparation is used generally with other expectorants to allay cough, and is a favourite sedative and hypnotic in heart disease. It is a more powerful preparation than Tinctura Camphorae Composita, although its dose is the same. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Strength 0.05 per cent. of morphine.
Powdered opium (12 per cent.), 0.4; benzoic acid, 0.4; camphor, 0.4; Oil of anise, 0.4; glycerin, 4; alcohol (49 per cent.), 95. Macerate for three days with frequent agitation, filter, and add sufficient of the alcohol to produce 100. Average dose.—8 mils (2 fluid drachms).
Tinctura Opii Crocata, B.P.C.—TINCTURE OF OPIUM WITH SAFFRON. Syn.—Sydenham's Laudanum.
Opium, 5; cinnamon bark, 1; cloves, 1; saffron, 5; detannated sherry, to 100. Used as a gastro-intestinal sedative and carminative. Dose.—½ to 2 ½ mils (10 to 40 minims).
Tinctura Opii Crocata, P.I.—TINCTURE OF OPIUM WITH SAFFRON, P.I. Syn.—Laudanum Sydenhami.
Strength, 1 per cent, of morphine.
Granulated opium (containing 12 to 12.5 per cent. of crystallisable morphine), 10; purified petroleum benzin, 7.5; alcohol (95 per cent.), 20; water, to 100. Contains 1.20 to 1.25 per cent. of morphine. Average dose.—5 decimils (0.5 milliliters) (8 minims).
Trochisci Opii, B.P.C.—OPIUM LOZENGES.
Each lozenge contains extract of opium, 6 ½ milligrams (1/10 grain), with tolu basis. Opium lozenges are used as a sedative for coughs.
Vinum Opii, B.P., 1885.—OPIUM WINE.
Extract of Opium, 5; cinnamon bark, bruised, 0.83; cloves, bruised, 0.83; detannated sherry, sufficient to produce 100. Macerate for seven days, and complete the maceration process. Opium wine is used as a gastro-intestinal carminative and sedative. It is sometimes prescribed without aromatics for use in eye-lotions. Dose.—½ to 2 ½ mils (10 to 40 minims).
Vinum Opii, U.S.P.—WINE OF OPIUM.
Prepared by macerating to of granulated opium and 1 each of Saigon cinnamon and cloves with 75 of a mixture of 15 of 95 per cent. alcohol and 85 of white wine, for seven days, with occasional agitation, then filtering and passing sufficient of the menstruum through the filter to produce 100 by volume. Average dose.—5 decimils (0.5 milliliters) (8 minims).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.