This section is from the "A Handbook of Useful Drugs" book, by State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards.
A liquid composed of about 96 per cent., by weight, of absolute ether, (C2H3)2O, and about 4 per cent. of alcohol, C2H5OH.
Properties : It Is volatile, inflammable, and the vapors, which are about two and one half times as heavy as air, are dangerously explosive when mixed with air. Ether is soluble in water (1:10), readily soluble in alcohol, and when administered internally is usually directed to be dispensed in the form of an alcoholic solution.
Action and Uses: Ether is used mainly by inhalation for the production of anesthesia. It depresses all parts of the central nervous system, causing loss of sensation, loss of consciousness and abolition of the reflexes. The vital centers of the medulla are involved very late in the poisoning, a fact which enhances the safety of this anesthetic. The respiration is affected first. Later there is depression of the vasomotor center and consequent fall of blood-pressure. Ether does not produce a marked effect on the heart, but its first action is a moderate reflex stimulation, while in poisonous doses it depresses the heart. In the administration of ether as an anesthetic at night, caution should be exercised to have the ether at a distance and, if possible, below any fire or flame, to avoid setting fire to the heavy inflammable vapors. For anesthesia a pure ether, preferably anhydrous, should always be used. Administered internally it is an anodyne, sedative, carminative and antispasmodic.
Dosage: 1 c.c. or 15 minims.
Spiritus Aetheris, U. S. P.
A 32.5 per cent, alcoholic solution.
Dosage: 4 c.c. or 1 fluidram well diluted or on cracked ice.
Spiritus Aetheris Compositus, U. S. P.
One hundred c.c. contain ether, 32.5 c.c; alcohol, 65 c.c. and ethereal oil, 2.5 c.c.
Dosage: 4 c.c or 1 fluidram, best given on a lump of sugar. On account of its transient action the dose may be repeated once in half an hour if needed.