Dose.—As a cathartic this salt may be given in doses of ℥ss. to ℥j.; as an aperient and diuretic, ʒj. to ʒiv. It may be so combined with lemon juice, cream of tartar, dilute sulphuric acid, etc., as to disguise its unpleasant taste, and render it palatable.
Therapeutic Action.—Sulphate of soda in large doses is cathartic, in smaller doses aperient and diuretic. Because of its unpleasant taste it is rarely prescribed now, the sulphate of magnesia having taken its place in the class of saline cathartics. In large doses it is a mild and efficient cathartic, and by reason of its refrigerant properties, is well adapted to febrile and inflammatory diseases. If administered in small doses, largely diluted, it acts as an aperient and diuretic. It produces a copious exhalation from the mucous membrane of the intestinal canal without producing irritation. It may be administered in the same diseases in which epsom salts are used, as fever, inflammation, colica pictonum, etc.
White Liquid Physic.—Rx Sulphate of soda lbss., water Oiss.; dissolve the sulphate of soda in the water, and add nitric acid ℥j., hydrochloric acid ℥j.
This forms one of our most efficient preparations in the treatment of dysentery. We administer it in this disease in doses of a tablespoonful, in sufficient sweetened water to make it palatable, every hour, until it produces at least one free bilious evacuation from the bowels, and then continue it in smaller doses to keep up its effect. It acts directly upon the liver, removes the constipated condition of the upper part of the intestinal canal, lessens the tormina and tenesmus, and speedily checks the dysenteric discharge. In some instances we have known it to remove all the dysenteric symptoms without producing catharsis, but this is somewhat rare. The only objection that can be raised to its employment is its disagreeable taste, which is overbalanced by the benefit derived from its use.