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.
Like most other medicines, arsenic has been tried in this malady, and it has received commendation. Dr. B. W. Foster says that he has seen it act well in improving nutrition and lessening thirst, but not in diminishing the excretion of sugar; hence, he considers it acts mainly by saving the waste of albuminous tissues ("Clinical Medicine," p. 208). Dr. Bartholow finds it beneficial in thin subjects with defective assimilating power, but not in the "stout subjects" who suffer from boils and carbuncles. I have frequently prescribed it in both stout and thin subjects, with good results, but as a rule it only acts as a palliative, checking the sudden emaciation and prostration and relieving the excessive thirst and dryness of mouth. In several cases it lessened for a considerable time the quantity of urine, and in some instances appeared to diminish the sugar; it certainly in nearly all cases improved digestion.