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.
Pyoctanine is only a name applied to the well-known aniline color methyl-vioiet, an aniline dye, which is in the form of a paste and in crystals.
It is without color, but slightly irritant, and non-intoxicating. It has been employed in the form of powder, solution and pencil. The powder is made by mixing 2 parts of pyoctanine or methyl-violet with 100 parts of talc or other inert substance. The solution is of any strength from I part in 100 to I in 2000. Pyoctanine is also used in the form of ointment containing from 2 to 10 per cent. There is also another aniline color - the yellow - to which the same name has been given ; but the violet is the stronger.
Pyoctanine is considered by many to be an efficient germicide. According to Fessler, the micro-organisms of pus are destroyed by it in fifteen minutes when the solution is of the strength of I to 1000. This action is, however, denied by Troje, who considers pyoctanine to be less powerful than bichloride of mercury, or even carbolic acid. It does not coagulate albumen, and when applied to the eve causes dilatation of the pupil without paralysis of accommodation. Pyoctanine is employed topically to disinfect suppurating or ulcerated wounds, to stimulate chronic ulcers. As an application to open buboes, boils, carbuncles, chancroids, etc.; also, in the form of weak solution, in gonorrhoea, and chronic cystitis. And as a dusting powder in moist eczema, and also in other affections of the eye, the ear, nose and throat.