A Peculiar Effect of Potassium Iodide

Botanical name: 

Even with the most acute observation a remedy will exercise a peculiar influence that will sometimes be overlooked for a long time. Again this influence may be thought to be regular when it is due to an idiosyncrasy on the part of the individual. My old friend, Dr. Julian, of New Zealand, narrates the following in The Chicago Medical Times concerning the therapeutic value of potassium iodide, which he claims has not been commonly observed. He says: "I have had personal experience of iodide of potash which may be useful to some of my fellow physicians.

"The first time was in 1903. Having a slight ailment which indicated iodide of potash, I took three doses of about two grains each in solution, at intervals of three or four hours. Before the second dose, the conjunctiva of my right eye began to inflame; after the second dose it became rapidly worse, and after the third dose it became so bad that I suspected the iodide as being the cause, so I took no more.

"This inflammation persisted, in spite of treatment, for a week. Two weeks after the first attack I felt curious enough to try whether the iodide would cause the conjunctiva to inflame, so I took two doses of two grains each, in solution, and I was quite convinced this time that the iodide caused the first inflammation, and also the second.

"In the month of May, 1908, I took a dose or iodide in solution, unintentionally, not exceeding four grains; and in five or six hours afterwards the conjunctiva of my right eye became highly inflamed, exuding sticky mucus, the upper and lower eyelids became very edematous, accompanied by severe pain and heat in the eyeball. Vision was unaffected. I also became, slightly hoarse, and had a slight aching in the larynx. By applying cold water packs the whole trouble subsided in thirty-six hours. I am at this writing, May, 1908, fifty-four years of age, of the nervo-sanguine temperament, height five feet six inches, weight about one hundred and forty pounds, am in good health, and have never had any specific disease. I have taken other preparations of potash at various times. The iodide is the only one that has caused any bad effect. The aforesaid are the only occasions on which I had taken iodide of potash.

"About three years ago a man of about twenty-one years of age came to me for treatment. He had contracted syphilis several months before, and had been taking medicine prescribed by his former physician. He produced the prescription, which called for mercury and iodide of potash. He complained that, for sometime past, his right eye had been so troublesome that he was afraid he would lose the sight of it. I could not find any physical signs of disease in the eye. I prescribed vegetable remedies for him, and advised him never to take mercury and iodide again. His eye trouble gradually faded away in about two months. He was of a nervous temperament. His weight was about one hundred and twenty pounds."

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.