This section is from the book "Dental Medicine. A Manual Of Dental Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Ferdinand J. S. Gorgas. Also available from Amazon: Dental Medicine.
Ch3chc12. Sp. gr. 1.225.
Dichloride of Ethidene is obtained in the preparation of chloral, from the waste products, and is very much like chloroform in appearance, odor and taste. It has a variable boiling point of about 1150 F., and is readily soluble in alcohol, sparingly soluble in water, and but slightly soluble in chloroform. It is inflammable, but less so than alcohol.
Dichloride of ethidene is a general anaesthetic, and is said to occupy an intermediate rank between chloroform and ether. It reduces the action of the heart to a less degree than chloroform, with, however, considerable depression of the pulse.
It has been somewhat employed in England, where it is regarded as being safer than chloroform for inhalation, and requiring less quantity to produce anaesthesia than ether.
It is recommended to administer nitrous oxide until the patient is nearly unconscious, and then to add the vapor of ethidene. The effects of this agent are described as follows: The pupils dilate, and at the same time stertorous breathing commences; the pulse falls, and should be carefully watched, and insensibility to pain continues for some time after the patient becomes conscious. It is also claimed for this agent that there are no unpleasant after-effects, the patient recovering as if from a natural sleep, with a clear mind and a distinct utterance. It is also recommended to combine the vapor of ethidene with that of nitrous oxide, by loosely inserting a sponge containing half an ounce of ethidene in the nitrous oxide gas-inhaling tube, or in the rubber supply-bag, when the effect is said to be more profound and agreeable than when nitrous oxide alone is administered, with no nausea and but little lividity of the lips. It is also said to produce relaxation of the muscles rather than rigidity, differing in this respect from nitrous oxide gas.
Dichloride of ethidene is also employed as a local anaesthetic, in the same manner as chloroform, aconite, etc., for the relief of facial neuralgia, etc.
It has not been introduced to any extent into this country.