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. Tanner recorded a few cases in which these cysts wasted and were cured under the internal use of iodide of potassium, and although the relation of cause and effect may be questioned, there is some evidence of its possibility, and it deserves further inquiry (Medical Times, ii., 1872).
Meningitis (? Tubercular). - I have had several cases of meningitis that derived benefit from iodides, given alone or in combination. In one, a child, aged six years, ill for eight days, insensible, with dilated pupils, dysphagia, paralysis of one side, and convulsive twitching, getting worse under previous treatment, improvement began soon after commencing iodide of potassium, which was given in 5 to 10-gr. doses every four hours, and 5 min. of tincture of belladonna midway between. Recovery ultimately ensued, and the boy is now sixteen years of age. In another case of mine, aged eight years, the child had pain, vomiting, delirium, unconsciousness, convulsion, dilated pupils, tetanic stiffness of the neck-muscles, grinding of teeth, difficult respiration, slow, weak pulse, and every sign of fully developed meningitis, yet recovered under iodide of potassium and belladonna, with occasional doses of aconite. Dr. Leared recorded a case of recovery under 5-gr. doses of iodide of potassium when other remedies had been used without relief. He was satisfied as to the diagnosis of "tubercular meningitis." M. Rodet has recently recorded a severe case in a girl of eighteen recovering under daily doses of 4 to 5 grammes, and considers failure due to insufficient dosage (Medical Record, May, 1879). Other desperate, but successful cases are on record (Edinburgh Medical Journal, 1841; London Medical Gazette, 1842; Medical Times, i., 1859; Bulletin de Therapeutique, August, 1861, etc.); and M. Golfin (Montpellier) narrates three cases of this malady which recovered from the second or third stage under frictions with an iodide of mercury ointment to the scalp. (Hydrarg. iodid. virid., gr. ij.; Potas. iod., gr. iij.; Camphorae, gr. ij.; Cerat. Galeni, gr. xxxij.)
In one child, aged four and a half years, the symptoms showed death to be imminent: the head was drawn back, the face pale, pupils dilated and immovable, swallowing power was lost; partial paralysis, convulsion, and profound coma were present; the pulse was scarcely perceptible. About forty hours after commencing the iodo-mercuric frictions, urine flowed, and the paralysis and convulsion gradually lessened; in the course of four days only headache and stupor remained, and by the fifteenth day convalescence had set in (Gazette Medicate de Montpellier, February, 1847). Niemeyer speaks favorably of iodic frictions in basilar meningitis. The degree of credence, however, to be given to such remarkable cases as the above must depend upon the accuracy of the diagnosis, for brain-congestion or brain-anaemia in children, and, still more closely, simple meningitis, may simulate acute hydrocephalus to some extent, and I have certainly seen improvement under local frictions with iodized ointment, and internal treatment by iodide, bromide, and belladonna.
Trousseau and many physicians of experience deny that the tubercular form is curable under any circumstances, and certainly a large majority of such cases end fatally. Dr. Wilks "has seldom seen any good results" (Medical Times, ii., 18G8).
In one case of hydrocephalus Brainard practised injection of iodine into the ventricles many times, with temporary improvement, but the child ultimately died in convulsions.