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.
Phenacetin, Acetpheuetidinum, U. S. P. This agent is incompatible with iodine, salicylic acid, and oxidizing agents, and liquefies when triturated with carbolic acid or chloral hydrate. The patent upon it has recently expired, and it can now be procured at a reasonable price.
This drug is probably the safest of its class. While it induces the formation of met-hemoglobin and may cause cyanosis, it does not have the awful record of mortality incident to the unwise use of other coal-tar derivatives. There is no scientific basis for a sweeping condemnation of these synthetics, but it is well to be upon the safe side and employ this comparatively safe chemical instead of acetanilid.
Phenacetin is of value in the initial stages of sthenic fevers, especially when associated with pain. It markedly reduces fever, but less decidedly relieves pain. Its stimulation of secretion renders it a valuable drug with which to prepare the system for the exhibition of quinine. Its average dose is 70 gr., but 10 gr. may be given as an antipyretic and 12 gr. may be demanded for its analgesic effects. Never exceed 3 gr. with children, and do not give to infants at all.