Unofficial Preparations.

Related entry: Official preparations
Other tomes: Petersen

Balnea, Baths,—are often medicated, and then become medicinal preparations. In prescribing for them, the ingredients only are enumerated, with directions that they shall be added to the necessary quantity of water,—usually about 20 gallons.

Bolus, Bolos—is a solid preparation, larger than a pill, but intended to be swallowed whole.

Bougia, Bougies, or Pencils,—are urethral and uterine suppositories, made long and slim for adaptation to those canals. They consist of various solid medicaments, astringents usually,—which are incorporated with a basis of Gelatin 3 and Glycerin 1, melted together. The compound is finally run into well-oiled tubes, in which it cools to the proper shape, and is then cut into the proper lengths.

Cachets, Wafers,—are thin disks made of flour and water, forming a very convenient vehicle for the administration of many powdered drugs, such as Quinine Sulphate, Rhubarb, etc. The wafer is first moistened with a very small quantity of water,—next the powdered drug is dropped upon it,—the edge of the wafer is bent inwards so as to completely cover up the powder, and the whole then forms a bolos, which can be swallowed easily.

Capsulae, Capsules,—are short tubes made of gelatin, and of such sizes that one slips over the other, so as to form a cover for it. They are a very convenient means of administering oils or other nauseous drugs, as when filled they are swallowed as easily as large-sized pills, and quickly dissolve in the gastric fluids, setting their contents free in the stomach. Another form is the Soluble Elastic Capsule, each one containing a dose of such medicines as Castor Oil, Cod-liver Oil, etc., enclosed in a yielding wall of gelatin, which bears any ordinary pressure, and accommodates itself readily to the shape of the oesophagus.

Cataplasmata, Poultices,—are well-known devices for applying heat and moisture to an external part, and are sometimes medicated with anodyne, counter-irritant, or disinfectant agents. They are always prepared at the residence of the patient, the prescription calling for the ingredients only. The British Pharmacopoeia recognizes six of these preparations, but they are not official in the U. S. Pharmacopoeia.

Collunarium,—is a nasal douche or wash, consisting of a mixture of various substances with water, to which a little glycerin is often added.

Collyrium,—is a similar preparation for use on the eye,—an eye-wash;—and generally contains a soluble, astringent salt, dissolved in rose-water or filtered (not distilled) water, in the proportion of gr.j-v to the ℥.

Discus, A Disk,—is a thin scale of Gelatin, medicated as required, for local application to the eye. The various mydriatics, also several mild astringents and anodynes, are put up in this form for use by ophthalmologists.

Dragée,—is the French name for a sugar-coated pill;—e. g. "Dragées Ferrugineuses."

Electuaria, Electuaries,—are preparations of a similar character to Confections, consisting of medicinal powders, etc., beaten up with sugar, honey or molasses, to the consistence of a thick paste, and administered with a spoon, like preserves. The term is now practically obsolete.

Emulsa, Emulsions,—are mixtures which contain an oil or a resin minutely subdivided and in a state of "suspension" in the mixture; the suspension being accomplished by the aid of some viscid excipient, as gum, soap, alkali, or yolk-of-egg. Natural Emulsions are such as exist ready formed in nature, as milk, the yolk-of-egg, etc.; and also the emulsions formed by rubbing up gum resins with water,—the members of that class of substances, (Ammoniacum, Asafetida, Myrrh, etc.) each containing, along with its resin, a sufficient amount of gum to make a perfect emulsion when triturated with water. There are four official Emulsions (see ante), but these preparations are usually extemporaneously prescribed by the physician.

Excipients used for emulsification are Acacia, Tragacanth, (either these gums in powder or their Mucilages), Yolk-of-Egg, Liquor Potassae, Tincture of Senega, Tincture of Quillaja, Milk, Syrups, Soap, etc. To give good results, the following proportions in parts by weight are recommended, viz.—

Gum Acacia. Water.
1 part of Fixed Oils or Copaiba requires ½ and ¾
1 part of Balsam of Peru requires 2 and 1 ½
1 part of Oil of Turpentine requires 1 and 1

Enemata, Enemas, Clysters—are liquid preparations for injection into the rectum, and may be laxative, demulcent, nutritive, stimulant or vermifuge in character. Their diluent is always water, which should be warm or tepid, and with which are incorporated such medicaments as may be desired. They may consist of water alone, as a wash for the purpose of cleansing the lower bowel.

Fotus, A Fomentation,—is a Lotion used hot,—and may consist of water alone, or medicated with a soluble salt, or perhaps alcohol, turpentine, etc.

Gargarysma, A Gargle,—is a mixture or solution for application to the pharyngeal mucous membrane, and usually contains some astringent or disinfecting salt, with a vegetable astringent perhaps, and frequently honey—all in aqueous solution or mixture.

Glycecol,—is a jelly troche, the base of which is a mixture of gelatin or isinglass with glycerin, called Glycecolloid.

Granulum, A Granule—is a very small pill, also called Parvule, and usually composed of alkaloidal or other powerful drugs.

Haustus, A Draught—is a mixture consisting of a single dose, and usually about one or two fluid-ounces in volume. The old-time Black Draught is, perhaps, the best known preparation of this class,—but having been promoted from the ranks, it is now commissioned in official pharmacy under the title Infusum Sennae Compositum,—the Compound Infusion of Senna.

Inhalationes, Inhalations—also called Vapores, Vapors—are medicines in the form of a vapor, a gas, or an atomized spray, intended for inhalation for their local action on the respiratory mucous membrane. The best apparatus for the production of these preparations is the steam-atomizer;—but many substances may be inhaled from the surface of hot water,—from a sponge in a wide-mouthed bottle surrounded by a hot cloth,—or from a heated slab of stone or iron.

Injectiones, Injections,—are aqueous preparations, intended for introduction into the cavities of the body by means of a syringe and are termed vaginal, urethral, vesical, nasal, aural, hypodermic, etc., according to the locality wherein employed. A special form of syringe is employed in each case.

Lotio, A Lotion or Wash,—is an aqueous solution or mixture of medicinal agents, intended for external use, and usually consisting of some soluble, astringent salt, dissolved in water, together with, perhaps, some glycerin or alcohol. The best known Lotion is "Leadwater and Laudanum," of daily use as an anodyne, refrigerant and astringent application.

Pessaria, Pessaries,—are suppositories of large size for use in the vagina. The term is also applied to certain mechanical contrivances used by gynecologists to support the uterus in position, and hence its medicinal application is all but obsolete.

Pigmenta, Paints—are fluid or semi-fluid preparations for external use, to be applied with a brush over inflamed joints, in skin-diseases, or to the pharyngeal mucous membrane. The familiar application of Tincture of Iodine, painted over the skin as a counter-irritant and sorbefacient, is the best known example of this class.

Potus, A Drink,—is a mixture or solution, intended to be used ad libitum,—and usually consists of a Potassium salt, or a mineral acid, in dilute solution, sweetened and flavored to the patient's taste.

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