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.
Europhen is obtained by the action of isobutyl-alcohol upon 0-cresol in the presence of chloride of zinc at an elevated temperature, producing isobutylcresol. This is then acted upon by iodine in potassium iodide, the resulting iodine compound being isobutylorthocresoliodide or europhen. Europhen is an amorphous yellow precipitate, which is separated by filtration and cleansed by washing, and afterward dried in the dark at ordinary temperature.
The percentage of iodine in europhen is about 27.6, which corresponds accurately with a proportion of one atom of iodine to two molecules of isobutylcresol. Europhen is resinous to the touch, and when applied to the mucous membrane or to the skin, adheres tenaciously. It possesses an aromatic odor, which, however, disappears when it is made into a solution or mixture. It is insoluble in glycerine or water, but readily soluble in alcohol (30 per cent.), ether or chloroform (equal weight), and such compounds of these agents as collodion, and liquid gutta percha, and also in fatty oils. A 25 per cent. solution of europhen can be made by rubbing it at a low temperature in olive oil, which, after being filtered, remains clear for a long period. In contact with wound secretions, it gives off slowly small quantities of iodine, which are immediately combined again, and form the soluble compound. The chief action of europhen can be ascribed to this formation in the nascent state; hence there is present in this agent very small quantities of free iodine, which form during the drying process and cannot be removed from it, - the percentage has been estimated at about 0.03 per cent.
On account of europhen being easily decomposed, all starch mixed with it and also mixtures of metallic oxides, are contra-indicated. Talcum is employed to make with it a thick paste, and simple mixtures of it with fats, vaseline or lanoline are very durable, especially the latter. Europhen solutions must be prepared at a low temperature, and they must be protected from the light and moisture.
Europhen is employed as a substitute for iodoform in the treatment of wounds, as, it is claimed, that a given weight of europhen will cover five times as large a wound surface as the same weight of iodoform; and also that it will prove efficacious in cases where iodoform fails.
Its freedom from odor and non-toxic effects are also advantages over iodoform.
Europhen is employed in dental practice for irritation and inflammation of the oral mucous membrane, such as may result from artificial dentures, crown- and bridge-work, as it acts promptly and efficiently in reducing the swelling and soreness; also in syphilitic mucous patches on the cheeks and tongue; it is also employed to relieve the pain of inflamed or suppurating pulps of teeth on account of its rapid action. Dr. A. W. Harlan recommends for such purposes, powdered europhen rubbed up with lanolin (25 parts of europhen to 75 parts of lanolin). He has also found such a combination to be of service in the after-dressing of the pockets of alveolar pyorrhoea, and as a parasiticide, and as a dressing in empyema of the antrum.
The powdered europhen is also applied in gingival inflammations resulting from setting crowns and bridges, with great success; also to an inflamed and suppurating pulp.