This section is from the "A Handbook of Useful Drugs" book, by State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards.
Official in most foreign pharmacopeias, and usually prescribed in this country as trional. Chemically, it is diethyl-sulphonemethylethylmethane.
Properties : Sulphonethylmethane occurs as colorless, odorless, crystalline scales, which have a bitter taste in aqueous solution. It is slightly soluble in water (1 :195) and freely soluble in alcohol.
Action and Uses: Sulphonethylmethane is a hypnotic, producing, in ordinary doses, no other symptoms than sleep. The sleep comes on in about an hour after the medicine is taken, and is usually quiet. In some cases the sleep is not secured until the next day.
Sulphonethylmethane. when repeatedly taken, may produce poisoning in which hematoporphyrin appears in the urine, giving it a pinkish tinge or red color. The continued use of the remedy may lead to the formation of a habit. In addition to the excretion of hematoporphyrin in the urine there are lassitude, weakness, nausea and gastrointestinal disturbance as shown by diarrhea and constipation. More serious symptoms then develop, including abdominal tenderness, violent vomiting, ataxia, paresis of various muscles, loss of reflexes, and finally a condition of profound collapse. This condition ends in death in about 75 per cent, of the cases. There is a nephritis which involves the glomeruli and may be hemorrhagic in character.
Trional is used as a hypnotic in insomnia, but is of little use when the insomnia is accompanied by severe pain. It is also recommended as an antispasmodic in epilepsy, hiccough, chorea, etc.
Dosage: 1 gm. or 15 grains. Owing to its sparing solubility, it should be given with large quantities of hot liquids. It should not be used for more than two or three days consecutively. After this time recourse should be had to other hypnotics, if necessary. The possible appearance of hematoporphyrin, as indicated by pink color in the urine, should be watched for and the remedy suspended on its occurrence, but it is then often too late.