Crystallized Aconitine.—H. Duquesnel gives, in the first place, an exhaustive description on the best method of preparing aconitine in crystalline state for pharmaceutical purposes, and next a detailed account of the properties of the alkaloid alluded to. Crystalline aconitine, C54H40NO2, is nearly insoluble in water, even at 100°; the substance is not volatile, but heated to above 130° is decomposed. Aconitine is soluble in alcohol, ether, benzine and chloroform; insoluble in glycerine and petroleum oils. Aconitine readily forms salts with acids, and is even soluble in water impregnated with excess of carbonic acid. Although phosphoric and tannic acids, as also the double iodide of mercury and potassium, are tests for aconitine, they are not reliable unless taken in combination with its physiological effects.—Chem. News, from Compt. rend., July 17th, 1871.
Portable Mixtures.—A new method of administering medicines has been proposed in Sweden, and has come into extensive use in France in consequence of the advantages which it possesses. It is the employment of gelatine as a vehicle, of which Professor Almen, of Upsala, is the initiator. Six grammes of gelatine are dissolved in warm water, and the desired medicine is added to the solution, which is then turned out on a glass plate to solidify, evaporate and dry. This mass, which is about as thick as paper, is then divided into squares of such size as to contain the proper dose of the medicine. A slight addition of glycerine makes this preparation tough and flexible as paper. Insoluble agents are added to the gelatine solution by a thick emulsion of gum or tragacanth.
Morphia, emetics, acetate of lead, sulphate of copper, extracts of opium and belladonna and powders of digitalis, and camphor are thus easily kept ready in a portable form and administered when necessary.—Medical Press and Circular, Sept. 13, 1871.
Approximate Measurement.—Mr. E. B. Suttleworth, in the Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal for September, has an article on this subject in which he shows the absurdity of ordering potent medicines by drops; as dropped from vessels of different shape and size, he obtained for one fluid drachm of laudanum from 50 to 135 drops. He likewise examined the teaspoons as met with in commerce, and found them to be of three or four sizes, holding about 55, 75, 85 and 95 minims respectively. The dessertspoon, as now met with, holds 150 or 200 minims, and the tablespoon 4, 5 or 6 fluid drachms. The author recommends physicians always to specify the use of small spoons, when the possibility of giving an under dose is exceedingly remote, the chances still being that the quantity will be over the mark. The dessertspoon might well be abandoned entirely, as the measuring of two teaspoonfuls is almost as convenient and far more likely to be correct.
Glycerized Cotton for Dressing Wounds.—Professor Gubler, at a recent meeting of the Académie de Médecine, exhibited some specimens of wadding prepared by saturating it with a certain quantity of glycerine, which he had found to render it permeable to all medicinal liquids, without causing it to lose any of its suppleness and lightness. He suggested that in this state it might prove a useful substitute for charpie, in the event of a scarcity of that article. Dr. Delaborde has already employed it with advantage. In order to prepare this dressing, it is only necessary to pour a small quantity of glycerine over the square sheet of wadding, and afterwards express it as strongly as possible. Pharm. Journ. and Trans., Sept. 30, 1871, from Journ. de Pharmacie et de Chimie.