This section is from the "A Handbook of Useful Drugs" book, by State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards.
The hydrochloric acid salt of diacetyl-morphin, a base formed by the action of acetic anhydrid on anhydrous morphin.
Properties : Heroin hydrochlorid occurs as a fine crystalline powder, odorless and having a bitter taste. Diacetyl-morphin hydrochlorid is freely soluble in water and in alcohol.
Incompatibilities: It is incompatible with alkaline carbonates and hydroxids and also with strong acids, being • quite readily decomposed.
Action and Uses: Diacetyl-morphin hydrochlorid resembles morphin, but it affects the brain less and depresses the respiration more. It is only slightly constipating. Repeated use is likely to produce a habit, as with morphin. The sudden withdrawal of the drug from habitués may occasion dangerous respiratory failure. The use of heroin is resorted to by some cocain habitués who cannot procure their favorite drug.
Diacetyl-morphin hydrochlorid is used as a respiratory sedative to relieve cough. It is perhaps somewhat more effective, but has no important advantage over morphin. It is not so valuable as morphin for the relief of pain.
Dosage: 3 mg. or 1/20 grain.