Potassae Acetas.

Botanical name: 

Dose.—Of acetate of potash, from grs. x. to ʒj. largely diluted with water, and repeated as often as may be necessary. We administer three drachms daily in diseases in which we need its depurative action.

Therapeutic Action.—Acetate of potash belongs to our class of renal depurants, and may be considered as the type of this class. It is a certain and efficient diuretic when given largely diluted with cold water, but frequently proves diaphoretic if given in warm water, and the surface is kept warm. It does not, like the organic diuretics, greatly increase the amount of urine voided, though this is sometimes the case, but invariably increases the amount of solids held in solution in it. (See Action of Diuretics.)

In febrile diseases we administer this agent to remove from the blood any morbid or disintegrated material which may be retained within it; and if this is accomplished, we have removed one of the principal, if not the principal, cause of the fever. When acetate of potash is given in fever, it acts first as a refrigerant, lessening the morbid heat of the body; it causes an increased secretion of urine, and a removal of a large quantity of excrementitious organic matter, the product of disiutegration of the tissues. It also, in a majority of cases, lessens the heat of the surface, relaxes the skin, and causes gentle perspiration. That it does "purify" the blood, may be easily ascertained by the changed character of any exudation from that fluid, as the "coating" of the tongue, which will rapidly lose its dark color, and in a few days will be entirely removed. We do not claim that this agent alone will cure fever (and yet we have seen the fever removed by it in less time than by any other treatment), but we believe it fulfills one of the prominent indications of cure. In febrile diseases we administer one drachm three times a day, with bitter tonics and suitable diaphoretics, keeping the bowels in a soluble condition; and since we have adopted this treatment, no case has passed over the seventh day. It may be administered in acute inflammations, as pneumonia, hepatitis, etc., with the same success, appearing not only to lessen the febrile excitement, but checking the progress of the inflammatory action in a remarkable manner. It is also among our most reliable agents in the treatment of rheumatism, whether acute or chronic. In acute rheumatism we have seen entire relief given in forty eight hours, the remedy increasing the solids excreted in the urine of twenty-four hours, not less than 260 grains, after deducting the three drachms of the salt administered. We have also found that in chronic rheumatism the disease could be as effectually subdued by this as by any other remedy, and in a much shorter space of time.

In scrofula, secondary syphilis, chronic skin diseases, or any cachetic habit of body, when we have good reason to suppose that the blood is diseased, or contains the disintegrated elements of the worn out tissues, this will be found one of our most beneficial alteratives. On this subject Dr. Golding Bird says: "I would most earnestly beg those who are now doing the honor of listening to my remarks, to give a careful and steady trial to the depurating or chemical diuretics, especially the salts of potash with vegetable acids, when they are called upon to treat a chronic affection in which the exciting cause, or existing disease, depends upon the presence of some product of less vitality or imperfect organization. I fully believe that in many instances such matters will often be found to yield, whether they present themselves as albuminous deposits in glands, furuncular disease of cellular tissue, or incrustations on the skin, as in some of the squamous and tubercular cutaneous diseases. That they will succeed in increasing the waste of matter, is, from my observation, beyond all doubt; that the lowest vitalized matters will yield to the solvent the readiest is most probable, and that an important and powerful addition has been made to our supply of therapeutic weapons is certain."

Acetate of potash is exhibited in the uric acid diathesis. It is decomposed by the digestive and assimilative process, the vegetable acid set free, while the alkali is absorbed into the circulation, thus destroying the acid, and greatly promoting the action of the kidneys, and thereby counteracting the formation of urinary concretions.

The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.