Extractum Ergotae Fluidum (U. S. P.)—Fluid Extract of Ergot.
Preparation.—"Ergot, recently ground and in No. 60 powder, one thousand grammes (1000 Gm.) [2 lbs. av., 3 ozs., 120 grs.]; acetic acid twenty cubic centimeters (20 Cc.) [325♏]; diluted alcohol, a sufficient quantity to make one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl℥, 391♏]. Mix the acetic acid with nine hundred and eighty cubic centimeters (980 Cc.) [33 fl℥, 66♏] of diluted alcohol, and having moistened the powder with three hundred cubic centimeters (300 Cc.) [10 fl℥, 69♏] of the mixture, pack it firmly in a cylindrical percolator; then add enough diluted alcohol to saturate the powder and leave a stratum above it. When the liquid begins to drop from the percolator, close the lower orifice, and, having closely covered the percolator, macerate for 48 hours. Then allow the percolation to proceed, gradually adding diluted alcohol, until the ergot is exhausted. Reserve the first eight hundred and fifty cubic centimeters (850 Cc.) [28 fl℥, 356♏] of the percolate, and evaporate the remainder, in a porcelain capsule, at a temperature not exceeding 50° C. (122° F.), to a soft extract; dissolve this in the reserved portion, and add enough diluted alcohol to make the fluid extract measure one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl℥, 391♏]"—(U. S. P.).
Description, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—This process gives a clear fluid, of a dark-brown color, somewhat red, possessing a taste like ergot, and developing the peculiar fishy smell of trimethylamine, when liquor potassae is added to it. This process is essentially that of Prof. W. Procter, Jr., who recommended the use of an acid to fix the alkaloidal principles. Prof. Procter suggested another process wherein ether was employed, but this was subsequently discarded. The fluid extract may be used as a substitute for ergot in all cases. It is pleasant to the taste, is always ready for use, requires a small dose, and acts promptly without nausea. The dose is from ½ to 4 fluid drachms. A fluid drachm is about equal to 2 doses of powdered ergot.
Related Preparation.—FLUID ERGOT. Prof. C. S. Hallberg commends the following fluid ergot: "Upon the investigations of Dragendorff, Podwissotzky, Blumberg, and others, having been made public, new processes were adopted for preparations that would conform to these theories. The writer constructed a formula for a preparation termed fluid ergot, in contradistinction to the official fluid extract. As this article has proved, during several years increasing use, its superiority over the ordinary fluid extract, and clinical experience sustained the views held in regard to it on theoretical grounds, the process for its preparation might be of interest. The powdered, purified ergot, prepared as above, is digested with twice its weight of water at 65.5° C. (150° F.), for 24 hours and expressed, the residue is again macerated in warm water for 12 hours. After settling, the expressed liquids are strained and evaporated separately, when both together measure one-half as much as the ergot employed. They are mixed and sufficient alcohol added to make the liquid of 25 per cent alcoholic strength, or one-third as much as the aqueous solution. After standing, the liquid is filtered and the gummy residue washed with so much 25 per cent alcohol as to make the filtered liquid measure three-fourths, or 75 per cent of the amount of the crude drug employed (volume for weight). To this glycerin is added to make the finished preparation represent the amount of crude ergot originally used (pint for pound). As will be seen, this preparation contains 18 percent alcohol, rendering it unobjectionable for hypodermatic use. Fluid ergot is an opalescent, amber-colored liquid, possessing a peculiar musty odor. It remains pretty clear unless exposed for a long time to the light or atmosphere. It should, therefore, be kept in small, well-filled bottles in a cool, dark place"—(Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1883, p. 11).