This section is from the book "The Chronic Diseases, Their Specific Nature And Their Homeopathic Treatment", by Samuel Hahnemann. Also available from Amazon: The chronic diseases, their specific nature and their homeopathic treatment.
But if any unfavorable effects are evolved by the present dose of medicine, i. e., troublesome symptoms which do not belong to this disease, and if the mind of the patient becomes depressed, if only a little at first, still increasingly, then the next dose of the same medicine, given immediately after the former, cannot but become injurious to the patient. Yet when a sudden great and striking improvement of a tedious great ailment follows immediately on the first dose of a medicine, there justly arises much suspicion that the remedy has only acted palliatively, and therefore must never be given again, even after the intervention of several other remedies.
Nevertheless there are cases which make an exception to the rule, but which not every beginner should risk finding out.*
* Still there has been of late much abuse of this immediate repetition of doses of the same medicine, because young Homoeopaths thought it more convenient to repeat, without examination, a medicine which in the beginning had been found to be homoeo-pathically suitable, and which had, therefore, in the beginning, proved serviceable, and even to repeat it frequently without examination, so as to heal more quickly.
The only allowable exception for an immediate repetition of the same medicine is when the dose of a well-selected and in every way suitable and beneficial remedy has made some beginning toward an improvement, but its action ceases too quickly, its power is too soon exhausted, and the cure does not proceed any further. This is rare in chronic diseases, but in acute diseases and in chronic diseases that rise into an acute state it is frequently the case. It is only then, - as a practiced observer may recognize - when the peculiar symptoms of the disease to be treated, after fourteen, ten, seven, and even fewer days, visibly cease to diminish, so that the improvement manifestly has come to a stop, without any disturbance of the mind and without the appear-ance of any new troublesome symptoms, so that the former medicine would still be perfectly homoeopathically suitable, only then, I say, is it useful, and probably necessary to give a dose of the same medicine of a similarly small amount, but most safely in a different degree of dynamic potency.* When the remedy is thus modified, the vital force of the patient will allow itself more easily to be further affected by the same medicine, so as to effect by it everything that may be expected of this medicine and in this ailment.*
We may declare at once, that the practice of late, which has even been recommended in public journals, of giving the patient several doses of the same medicine to take with him, so that he may take them himself at certain intervals, without considering whether this repetition may affect him injuriously, seems to show a negligent empiricism, and to be unworthy of a homoeopathic physician, who should not allow a new dose of a medicine to be taken or given without convincing himself in every case beforehand as to its usefulness.
*If it, e. g., has first been given in the 30th potency, it will now be given in perhaps the 18th, and if a repetition should be again found serviceable and necessary, it might afterwards be given in the 24th, and later perhaps also in the 12th and 6th, etc., if, e. g.,
To adduce an example: a freshly arisen eruption of itch belongs to those diseases which might soonest permit the repetition of the dose (Sulphur), and which does permit it the more frequently, the sooner after the infection the itch is received for treatment, as it then approaches the nature of an acute disorder, and demands its remedies in more frequent doses than when it has been standing on the skin for some time. But this repetition should be permitted only when the preceding dose has largely exhausted its action (after six, eight or ten days), and the dose should be just as small as the preceding one, and be given in a different potency. Nevertheless it is in such a case often serviceable, in answer to a slight change of symptoms, to interpose between the doses of pure Sulphur, a small dose of Hepar sulphuris calcareum. This also should the chronic disease should have taken on itself an acute character. A dose of medicine may also have been suddenly counteracted and annihilated by a grave error in the regimen of the patient, when perhaps a dose of the former serviceable medicine might again be given with the modification mentioned above.
*In cases where the physician is certain as to the homoeopathic specific to be used, the first attenuated dose may also be dissolved in about four ounces of water by stirring it, and one-third may be drunk at once, and the second and third portions on the following days; but it should each time be again stirred so as to increase the potency and thus to change it. Thereby the remedy seems to take a deeper hold on the organism and hasten the restoration in patients who are vigorous and not too sensitive.
Be given in various potencies, if several doses should be needed from time to time. Often, also, according to circumstances, a dose of Nux vomica (x) or one of Mercury (x)* may be used between.
If I except Sulphur, Hepar sulphuris and in some cases Sepia, the other antipsoric remedies can seldom be usefully given in immediately repeated doses. Indeed it is hardly ever needed in chronic diseases, as we have a goodly supply of antipsoric remedies at our disposal, so that as soon as one well selected remedy has completed its action, and a change of symptoms, i. e., a change in the total image of the disease, appears, another antipsoric remedy homoeopathically appropriate to the altered case may be chosen to greater advantage and with a more sure prospect of hastening the cure, than if we take the risk of prescribing the former medicine which now is no longer altogether adequate. Nevertheless in very tedious and complex cases, which are mostly such as have been mismanaged by allopathic treatment, it is nearly always necessary to give again from time to time during the treatment, a dose of Sulphur or of Hepar (according to the symptoms), even to the patients who have been before dosed with large allopathic doses of Sulphur and with sulphur-baths; but then only after a previous dose of Mercury (x).