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.
The modern tendency towards more direct and less bulky medication has placed in a transition stage the drug therapy of today. New synthetics, elegant pharmaceuticals, and mixtures and compounds more or less ethical, are being introduced faster than the profession can keep pace with them.
Certain excesses always accompany a forward movement. This little book is an exhortation to pause and consider, and is an attempted rational restudy of the materia medica with the two main points in view of emphasizing what is really important as regards the employment of drugs in their larger dose, and, more especially, of directing scientific and clinical attention to the employment of drugs to meet their indications in small doses.
Attempting to exploit no pathy, ism, or fanciful theories, the effort is made to gather together what is of practical account in the recorded investigations of all schools of practice bearing upon the clinical use of small doses of the drugs suitable for such employment. The infinitesimal dose will not be considered, and the theories involved concerning such attempts at medication need be but slightly touched upon.
The neglect of this subject by laboratory investigators, most of our clinical teachers and our physiologists, makes it imperative to draw considerably upon the mass of more or less valuable sectarian literature. This has been done in as nearly a judicial spirit as possible. There are so many instances where all three schools of medicine substantially agree upon the indications that the task is not so difficult as might appear upon the surface. Where such an. agreement is not obvious, divergent views will be carefully weighed, and whatever data appears to possess the most substantial chemic, physiologic, and clinical foundation will be given preference over anything of a theoretic nature.
This is a series of studies, and is not a treatise; a volume of suggestions, and not one of principles. It presupposes a knowledge of the established materia medica and rational therapeutics and presents from the standpoint of a seasoned "regular" what he apprehends we and all physicians, regardless of school, are coming to recognize and practice as common ground.
Full of imperfections a study of this nature must necessarily be. So much data is empiric; so much is based upon clinical observations and provings with too much of the subjective; some is contradictory, and much more is inadequate; but the refinements of physical and physiologic science are having their effects upon therapeutics.
In the Materia Medica section, the author accepts conditions as he finds them, and must, perforce of circumstances, give a sectarian setting to what he is endeavoring to give in a non-sectarian spirit. Pharmaceutic matters are considered impartially and as having no legitimate sectarian phases.
Most of the literature upon the small dose in therapeutics is built up upon that which has preceded it. The fathers of medicine dwelt much upon this problem. It has been quite impossible to determine the real author of much of the data used in the preparation of this volume. Many books, both regular and sectarian, have been consulted, and the author acknowledges a large debt of obligation.
Harrisburg, Pa., January, 1907.