This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
Dr. Maclean equally objects to any preparation of mercury in cholera, as "useless in collapse and dangerous when reviving" (Lancet, 1866), but although I am not myself an advocate for the calomel treatment, the results obtained by Dr. Ayre, of Hull, deserve attention. He gave 1/4 to 1/2 gr. calomel every ten minutes or every four hours, according to circumstances; it rarely salivated, but produced apparently good results in a majority of cases. Bloxam and some other observers have followed the same plan with advantage, and Niemeyer speaks well of calomel treatment. What is desired is to stimulate by this means a secretion of bile and to promote elimination, for we know that the reappearance of bile in choleraic stools is a favorable sign; besides this, large doses of calomel (1/2 dr.) have been said "to restore warmth" (British and Foreign. Review, i., 1870). Kohler thinks that its good effects are owing to the disinfecting property of the drug when brought into contact with the contents of the intestines. Of fifty-six cases, some of which received 200 gr. in two days, twenty-one died, but the reporter seems to think the results favorable to the treatment by calomel (Lancet, i., 1874). The general experience of the profession has not, however, adopted it, and it is clearly not free from danger, for under certain conditions a quantity of the medicine may remain for a time unabsorbed, and afterward produce serious toxic effects.