Official Preparations.

Related entry: Unofficial Preparations
Other tomes: Petersen

The Preparations Official in the U. S. Pharmacopoeia number thirty-three, and are grouped as follows,—viz.

Liquid Preparations, (20).

  • Aqueous ,—Waters, Solutions, Infusions, Decoctions, Syrups, Honeys, Mucilages, Emulsions, Mixtures; the last five containing sweet or viscid substances.
  • Alcoholic,—Fluid Extracts, Tinctures, Wines, Spirits, Elixirs.
  • Ethereal,—Oleoresins, Collodions.
  • Oleaginous ,—Liniments, Oleates.
  • Acetous,—Vinegars.
  • Glycerines,—Glycerites.

Solid Preparations, (13).

Extracts. Resins. Masses. Pills. Troches. Confections. Powders. Triturations. Ointments. Cerates. Plasters. Suppositories. Papers.

Besides the above mentioned there are the Natural Preparations, namely the Alkaloids, Glucosides, and other Neutral Principles, also the Acids, Alkalies, etc. The two latter groups are described under Agents Acting on the Digestive System.

Aceta, Vinegars,—are solutions of the active principles of certain drugs in dilute acetic acid. They number only 2, are made by percolation, and each contains the soluble principles from 10 per cent. of drug.

Alkaloids,—are active, nitrogenous principles existing in plants, from which they are extracted by chemical art. They are organic bases, forming salts with acids, and regarded as compound ammonias, products of albuminous decomposition in the plant-cells during the process of growth. Like ammonia, they all contain N, with C and H; most of them also containing O, though a few are devoid of the latter element, occurring as oily liquids—e.g., Nicotine, Coniïne, Sparteine, Piperidine, I.upuline, Lobeline, Muscarine, and Pilocarpine. Alkaloids are alkaline in reaction, sparingly soluble or insoluble in water, but readily soluble in alcohol; while their salts are more soluble in water than in any other liquid. Their solutions are intensely bitter. They are easily decomposed by alkalies or alkaline carbonates; and are precipitated from their solutions by a solution of Iodine in Iodide of Potassium, by Potassio-mercuric Iodide, and by Picric, Phospho-molybdic and Phosphotungstic Acids. They generally have a powerful physiological action, and their official names always end in —ina, (—ine). Allied to the alkaloids are the organic products—

Leucomaïnes and Ptomaïnes,—the former being alkaloids produced by decomposition of albuminous matter in the living animal tissues during the normal processes of waste ;—and the latter being alkaloids produced by putrefaction. Many of the ptomaïnes are identical with vegetable alkaloids.

There are 16 alkaloids official, either under their own names or under those of one or more of their salts, as follows, viz.—

Apomorphina. Atropina. Caffeina. Cinchonidina. Cinchonina. Cocaina. Codeina. Hyoscina. Hyoscyamina. Morphina. Physostigmina. Pilocarpina. Quinidina. Quinina. Strychnina. Veratrina.

Veratrina is not an alkaloid, but a mixture of alkaloids. Unofficial but important Alkaloids are the following, viz.—

Aconitina. Berberina. Brucina. Colchicina. Coniïna. Curarina. Duboisina. Emetina. Gelsemina. Homatropina. Muscarina. Pelletierina.

Aquae, Waters,—are aqueous solutions of volatile substances, which may be either solids, liquids or gases. They are dissolved either by solution in cold or hot water, by filtration through an absorbent powder, by percolation through cotton saturated with the substance, or by distillation. They number 15 in all, including two forms of Aqua itself, viz.—Water and Distilled Water.

Cerata, Cerates,—are unctuous preparations, similar to ointments, but of a much firmer consistence, as they all contain wax (cera), and do not melt below 104° F. There are 6 official cerates, including Ceratum itself, which is made by fusing together 30 parts of White Wax and 70 of Lard.

Chartae, Papers,—are strips of paper medicated by impregnation with medicinal substances, or by coating therewith. The official papers number 2, one being intended for smoking, (Charta Potassii Nitratis), the other for application as a vesicant or counterirritant.

Collodia, Collodions,—are liquid preparations, having for their base a solution of gun-cotton in a mixture of Ether and Alcohol. They number 4, and are intended for external use.

Confectiones, Confections,—are medicinal substances formed into a mass with sugar, honey, water, etc., with the object of rendering them palatable and preserving them from change. They number only 2, that of Rose and that of Senna.

Decocta, Decoctions,—are aqueous preparations of vegetable drugs, made by boiling them in water for 15 to 30 minutes, and adding enough water to make the finished product of 5 per cent. strength, unless otherwise directed. Only 2 Decoctions are now official, out of 12 in the Phar. of 1870. They are not desirable preparations, as heating is injurious to the active principles of most plants.

Elixiria, Elixirs,—are aromatic, sweetened preparations, containing active medicinal agents in small quantity, and made with a menstruum of Alcohol and Water. There are 2 official Elixirs, one (Elixir Aromaticum) being practically an alcoholized syrup, flavored with Orange, and intended as an excipient for use with extracts, salts and tinctures in prescriptions.

Emplastra, Plasters,—are solid compounds, of tenacious but pliable consistence, and intended for external application. They are prepared by incorporating the medicinal substances with certain bases, to make a mass, which is then spread evenly on chamois-skin, muslin or kid-skin. The official Plasters number 13.

Emulsa, Emulsions,—are aqueous, liquid preparations containing an insoluble medicinal substance (as an oil or a resin) in a state of minute subdivision, and suspended therein by the aid of some viscid excipient, as gum. The official Emulsions number 4, and were all classed as Mixtures in the Pharmacopoeia of 1880. The Emulsions are further considered under Unofficial Preparations.

Extracta, Extracts,—are solid or semi-solid preparations, obtained by evaporating solutions of vegetable principles. The drug is first powdered, and then percolated with an aqueous or alcoholic menstruum to exhaustion, when it is evaporated at a temperature not to exceed 122° F., to a pilular consistence, and in some cases has a small quantity of glycerin added to keep the mass from becoming hard. There are 32 official Extracts, of which one is an inspissated juice, (Extr. Taraxaci), and one is made by evaporating a Fluid Extract, (Extr. Ergotae).

Extracta Fluida, Fluid Extracts,—are alcoholic solutions, or concentrated tinctures, of vegetable drugs, prepared by percolation and partial evaporation, with menstrua of Alcohol, diluted Alcohol, or Alcohol and Water in various proportions. They are of uniformly definite strength if the crude drugs are so, a cubic centimeter, or fluid gramme, representing in each case the medicinal powers of one gramme of the drug; or, approximately, one minim of the finished preparation representing the active constituents of one grain of the drug. There are 88 official Fluid Extracts, and several hundred unofficial ones, one manufacturing firm alone carrying over 400 on their trade-list.

A class of superior fluid extracts named Normal Liquids, has been introduced by Parke, Davis & Co., embracing all the official vegetable drugs in common use. It is claimed for these preparations that they are adjusted, by assays for alkaloids, at every stage of their manipulation, and that the preparation is finally adjusted to a standard alkaloidal strength, irrespective of the grade of the particular sample of the crude drug employed.

Glucosides—are organic compounds, belonging to the group of Neutral Principles which exist in plants; and which are resolved into glucose and some other principles by the action of reagents or natural ferments. Few, if any, of these compounds, contain any N,—but among them are some very active agents. The official glucosides number six, and like other neutral principles, are designated by titles which end, in Latin in -inum, (English, in), viz.—

Chrysarobinum, (Chrysarobin).
Elaterinum, (Elaterin).
Glycyrrhizinum, (Glycyrrhizin).
Picrotoxinum, (Picrotoxin).
Salicinum, (Salicin).
Santoninum, (Santonin).

Besides these, there are several other substances recognized by pharmacopoeial names which terminate in -inum, -in, but which have no relationship to the group of Glucosides. They are the following, viz.—

Aloinum, Aloin,—A neutral principle from Aloes.
Benzinum, Benzin,—A purified distillate from Petroleum.
Benzoinum, Benzoin,—A balsamic resin, from Styrax Benzoin.
Chinoidinum, Chinoidin,—A mixture of Cinchona alkaloids, unofficial.
Glycerinum, Glycerin,—A liquid obtained from fats or fixed oils.
Lupulinum, Lupulin,—A glandular powder from the hop plant.
Naphtalinum, Naphtalin,—A hydrocarbon from coal-tar.
Pancreatinum, Pancreatin,—A mixture of enzymes from the pancreas of the hog.
Pepsinum, Pepsin,—A ferment from the stomach of the hog.
Piperinum, Piperin,—A neutral principle from pepper.
Pyroxylinum, Pyroxylin,—Soluble gun-cotton.
Resorcinum, Resorcin,—A diatomic phenol.

Glycerita, Glycerites,—are mixtures of medicinal substances with glycerin, of which 6 are now official.

Infusa, Infusions—are aqueous preparations of vegetable drugs, using hot or cold water, but without boiling, and in the proportion of 5 per cent., unless otherwise directed. The official Infusions are 4 in number, varying from 1 ½ to 4 and 6 per cent, of drug to menstruum.

Linimenta, Liniments,—are thin, oleaginous preparations, for external use with friction. and are made by dissolving various drugs in oily liquids, or in alcoholic liquids containing fatty oils. There are 9 official Liniments, 2 of which have Cotton-seed oil as their bases, 3 have Alcohol and Water, 1 Linseed Oil, 1 Oil of Turpentine, and 1 Alcohol.

Liquores, Solutions,—include all aqueous solutions of non-volatile substances, except the syrups, infusions and decoctions, which naturally form distinctive classes. There are 24 official Solutions; of which 7 are simple aqueous solutions, the rest being chemical aqueous solutions, in which the dissolved substances are altered by chemical action and new ones formed.

Massae, Masses, Pill-masses,—are prepared as described under Pilulae below, those which are official numbering 3, viz.—Massa Copaibae, Massa Fern Carbonatis, and Massa Hydrargyri.

Mellita, Honeys—differ from Syrups merely in their having honey as their base. The Oxymel and Oxymel Scillae of the B. P. are similar preparations, with the addition of Acetic Acid. There are 3 official Honeys, including the two forms of Honey itself, viz.—Mel, Mel Despumatum, and Mel Rosae.

Misturae, Mixtures,—are aqueous preparations of insoluble substances, held in suspension by a suitable vehicle. In extemporaneous pharmacy, however, the term Mixture is applied to every fluid compound intended for internal use, except a few which have distinctive titles, as Emulsions, Draughts, Enemas, Elixirs, and Drinks. There are 4 official Mixtures,—Mistura Cretae, Mistura Fern Composita, Mistura Glycyrrhizae Composita, and Mistura Rhei et Sodae.

Mucilagines, Mucilages,—are thick, viscid liquids, prepared by dissolving gum in water, or by extracting with water the mucilaginous principles of certain plants. They are easily spoiled, and hence should be kept only in small quantities. There are 4 official Mucilages.

[Neutral Principles of plants include the Carbo-hydrates, (starch, sugars, gum, etc.),—Albuminous Bodies, which may act as ferments,—Bitter Principles,—and Glucosides.]

Oleata, Oleates—are liquid solutions of metallic salts and alkaloids in Oleic Acid, intended for external use. They are not definite chemical compounds, though the term Oleates is also employed in the drug trade to distinguish certain solid preparations which are claimed to be chemical compounds of the same acid with various bases. There are only 3 official Oleates,—the Oleate of Mercury (20 per cent.), the Oleate of Veratrine (2 per cent.), and the Oleate of Zinc (5 per cent.).

Oleoresinae, Oleoresins,—are liquid preparations, consisting principally of natural oils and resins extracted from vegetable drugs by percolation with Stronger Ether. They are the most concentrated liquid preparations of drugs which can be produced, and there are 6 official members of the class.

Pilulae, Pills,—are spherical masses composed of medicinal agents, and intended to be swallowed whole. The "pill-mass" or "mass" consists of the active ingredients and the excipient, the latter being the substance which gives to the mass its adhesive and plastic qualities. Besides the 3 official Masses enumerated above under MASSAE, there are 15 official Pills, in the composition of which some 9 different excipients are specified. One pill-mass has no excipient, (Massa Copaibae), one of its ingredients having sufficient moisture in itself to give it the necessary viscidity.

Pulveres, Powders—consist of dry substances in a state of minute subdivision, obtained by pulverization; the ingredients being rubbed together in a mortar until reduced to a fine powder and thoroughly mixed. There are 9 official Pulveres, one of which is really a Trituration, viz.—the Pulvis Ipecacuanhae et Opii.

Resinae, Resins,—are solid preparations obtained by precipitating the resinous principles of plants from their alcoholic solutions by the agency of water. There are 4 official Resins, namely Resina Copaibae, Jalapae, Podophylli , and Scammonii.

Spiritus, Spirits,—are alcoholic solutions of volatile substances, which may be solids, liquids or gases. The official Spirits number 25, and are prepared either by simple solution, by solution with maceration, by gaseous solution, by chemical reaction, or by distillation.

Suppositoria, Suppositories,—are solid bodies containing medicinal substances, and intended for introduction into the rectum, vagina or urethra. There is but one official Suppository, that of Glycerin, in which Stearic Acid is employed to give the requisite consistence. The Pharmacopoeia prescribes a general formula for these preparations, and directs that the medicinal constituent be incorporated with Cacao-butter (Oleum Theobromae).

Syrupi, Syrups,—are concentrated solutions of Sugar in water or in aqueous liquids, sometimes containing Acetic Acid, and occasionally Alcohol. They are termed simple, medicated, or flavored, according as they are simple solutions of sugar in water alone, or contain soluble medicinal substances, or flavoring ingredients. The official syrups number 32.

Tincturae, Tinctures—are alcoholic solutions of medicinal substances, all, except one, (Tincture of Iodine), being from non-volatile bodies. They are prepared by percolation, maceration, solution or dilution; the menstrua employed being chiefly Alcohol and diluted Alcohol of various strengths, though in a few cases the Aromatic Spirit of Ammonia is used. There are 71 official Tinctures, varying in strength from 0.4 per cent. (Tinct. Opii Camph.) to 50 per cent. (Tinet. Lactucarii).

Tincturae Herbarum Recentium, Tinctures of Fresh Herbs,—is the title of a general formula for the preparation of the so called "Green Tinctures," according to which, unless otherwise directed, 50 grammes of the fresh herb, bruised or crushed, are to be macerated in 100 Cc. of Alcohol for 14 days, then expressed and filtered.

Triturationes, Triturations,—are finely comminuted powders, each consisting of a suitable medicinal substance and Sugar of Milk as a diluent, in the proportion of 10 per cent. There is but one official Trituration, (Trituratio Elaterini), though the Pulvis Ipecac et Opii practically belongs to this class, except in respect of the proportions prescribed.

Trochisci, Troches,—also called Pastilles, Tablets, or Lozenges—are small flattened cakes consisting of medicinal substances incorporated with Sugar, Mucilage of Tragacanth, etc. There are 15 official Troches.

Unguenta, Ointments,—are soft, fatty mixtures of medicinal agents with a basis of lard, petrolatum, or fixed oils; intended for application to the skin by inunction. There are 23 official Ointments, including Unguentum itself, which is a mixture of Lard 80 and Yellow Wax 20 parts.

Vina, Wines—when medicated are practically Tinctures; White Wine, of a definite alcoholic strength, being the menstruum used. There are 10 official Wines, of which number 2 are unmedicated, namely—Vinum Album and Vinum Rubrum.

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