Agents Acting on Microbes, Parasites, etc.

Antizymotics, (αντι, against, ζυμωσις, fermentation),—are agents which arrest all fermentative processes, not only those due to the action of Organic Ferments, (diastase, pepsin, ptyalin, etc), but also those depending on Organized Ferments, (the yeast-plant, bacteria, cocci, etc.). They may be divided into two groups, viz.:—

Antiseptics, (αντι, against, σηπτικος, putrefaction),—are those which retard or prevent septic decomposition, by destroying the bacilli which produce it, or by arresting their development. The principal Antiseptics are—Potassio-Mercuric Iodide, Mercuric Chloride, Iodide and Oxide, Mercurous Chloride, Hydrogen Dioxide, Potassium Permanganate, Hydronaphtol, Sulphurous Acid, Sulphites and Hyposulphites, Salicin, Quinine, Thymol, Carbolic Acid, Creosote, Alcohol, Eucalyptol, Borax, Chlorine, Chlorides and Chlorates.
Disinfectants,—are those which destroy the germs of infectious diseases. They act in several different modes;—some are Oxidizants, as Lime, Chlorine, Iodine, Bromine, Heat 230° -250° F., etc.; others are Desulphurants, as Ferrous Sulphate, Lime, etc.; and others are Absorbents, as Charcoal, Dry Earth, etc. Many members of this group have the additional property of destroying foul smells, and are called Deodorants, such being Ozone, Earths, Lime, Charcoal, Ferrous Sulphate, Chlorine and Sulphurous Acid Gases, etc.

Fermentation is a general name for certain processes of decomposition, during which certain carbon compounds called Ferments act upon other carbon compounds, as on their food,—splitting these latter up, setting free their elementary constituents, and thereby leading to the formation of still other carbon compounds, by the rearrangement of the freed molecules. These processes are of two kinds, viz.:—

Those in which water is taken up, (hydration),—chiefly carried on by enzymes.
Those in which O is transferred from the H to the C association, as in lactic and alcoholic fermentation, and the putrefactive processes,—and are chiefly carried on by the agency of organized ferments.

The Ferments producing these fermentative changes are also carbon compounds and are divisible into two groups, viz.:—

Enzymes, or Organic Ferments,—have into definite structures, and are unorganized, i. e. not living,—as Diastase, Ptyalin, Pepsin, etc.
Organized Ferments,—are minute, living organisms, as the moulds, yeast-plant, bacteria, and other members of the Protophytes, the lowermost class of plants, which, in the course of their life history, split up the carbon compounds in which they live, appropriating some part of their elements.

Antizymotic Drugs are drugs which arrest or inhibit these fermentative processes, either by destroying or by rendering inactive the causative ferments.

Parasiticides, (παρασιτος, a parasite, caedo, I kill),—destroy the various animal and vegetable, organisms which live upon the human body. They are generally employed in the form of lotions, ointments or oleates, and include the following articles, viz.—Sulphur, Sulphites, Sulphurons Acid, Iodine, Sulphur Iodide, Mercury and its Chlorides, Nitrate, Oxide, and Ammoniated Mercury, Carbolic Acid, Storax, Petroleum, Staphisagria, Balsam of Peru, etc.

A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.