This section is from the book "A Practitioner's Handbook Of Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Thos. S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: A Practitioner's handbook of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
Ferrum, Ferri Arsellas, is administered in certain diseases of the skin with anemia, notably in dry eczema and impetigo. In pill form, 1-16 to Ys gr. Ferrous bromide is used in scrofula and swollen glands in doses of 10 to 40 I. of the syrup. Ferri carbonas saccharatus of the U. S. P. is a valuable preparation possessing great restorative powers. It is non-irritating, nearly tasteless, and not astringent. Persons who object to a pill can take powders of this preparation in place of Blaud's pill. It is a form of iron of peculiar value in anemic young people with pustular conditions of the face with acne, and in atonic conditions of the stomach, combined with hydrastine and capsicum. Dose, 2 to 6 gr. Ferri chloridum, employed in U. S. P. tincture, in restoring red blood corpuscles, in anemia, chlorosis, in chronic inflammation of the kidneys and albuminuria, and in acute erysipelas and diphtheria in cases in which the mucous membranes are red and the tongue not heavily furred. Average dose of tincture, 8 I. Ferri citras, tonic, astringent, hematinic. Dose, 3 to 10 gr. Ferri et ammonii citras is a good form of iron to dispense in solution. Both the citrate and ammonia citrate combine nicely with other drugs in solution and do not injure the teeth. Do not give when there is gastric irritation. The dose of both salts is the same, 3 to 10 gr. Ferri et ammonii sulphas requires larger dosage, 5 to I5 gr. Ferri et ammonii tartras and the corresponding potash salt act much as do the citrates, but may be given in larger doses. They are well adapted to children, and make up nicely in solution. Ferri et quinine citras and the Ferri et strychnine citras are valuable salts, but are too disagreeable to dispense in extempore prescriptions. The Elixir Ferri, Quininae et strychnina phosphatum, is to be recommended when these ferruginous elements are desired. There is no better general tonic, none of the expensive proprietary iron tonics being nearly so efficient. Ferri hydroxidum cum magnesii oxido is the official arsenic antidote of the U. S. P. Dose, 2 to 8 fK. Ferri hypophosphis is used in an average dose of 3 gr. Ferri iodidi, tonic, alterative, U. S. P. syrup. Dose, 5 to 30 I. Ferri phosphas solubilis is of great value in debility following exhausting diseases. The average dose is 4 gr. Ferri sulphas, a tonic and restorative, and, in atonic conditions, an emmenagogue. Average dose, 3 gr. Ferrum reductum is one of our best iron tonics and of great value in the diseases of children. Dose, I to 3 gr. The many and important questions involved in the therapeutics of iron do not properly come within the province of a book such as this. Any possible point of view may be taken, yet, after all, iron enters into the system largely by its incorporation with hemoglobin, and the way in which it may be best administered is a mere matter of detail. Manufacturers of proprietary and so-called "organic iron" preparations to the contrary not withstanding, we do not yet know just how iron reaches the hemoglobin nor just how it is taken up by it. Hemoglobin may be regarded as a mere organic iron compound, if you please. Personally, I do not believe the matter is one-half so simple as that. It is probable we are giving iron empirically. In a state of nature our food would contain all we needed of it, and that would perhaps be empiricism, too. Be that as it may, we have had altogether too much ultra-scientific pseudo-science about iron, and I am content to give it for much the same reason that I would place a little clean clay in the feeding trough of my horse now and then when I cannot turn him out to grass. Aside from the cravings of the tissues for iron, a food, its value in disease is too well known to require comment. The U. S. P. recognizes so many avail able forms of iron that we know are active and satisfactory that there is no occasion to employ the proprietaries. Some of them really contain very little iron, and others an unnecessary amount of wine.
In small doses iron does not impress the system differently from large doses. It is simply a question of degree. The tendency is to give smaller doses than were formerly used.
A careful study of sectarian literature upon iron has revealed little of value. An analysis of the "provings" of iron shows little but what we have long known along with much irrelevant and doubtful matter. They use one salt of iron we do not employ, the picrate, claiming that the second trituration cures senile hypertrophy of the prostate. That is a fairly reasonable proposition. The sectarians use most iron salts in actual practice just about as we do, and their pharmaceuticals are most excellent preparations of iron.