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.
Chronic congestive conditions of lung following on acute inflammations are usually connected with the scrofulous diathesis - pneumonic phthisis especially. In such cases, benefit may be obtained from iodine preparations. I prefer the tincture; but the iodide of iron, or the iodide of ammonium, is useful, according to the case.
In the more acute form of tubercular phthisis, when the patient suffers from loss of flesh, quick pulse, high temperature, pain, cough, dyspnoea, and nocturnal sweatings, the tincture, given every four hours, and inhaled, as well as applied locally over the chest, offers a chance of arresting or ameliorating the disease. In some cases under my care, this treatment appeared to check the disease.
In tubercular phthisis, in the absence of acute symptoms, I have seen benefit from iodine and iodides, but have sometimes noticed haemoptysis following their use, and therefore recommend caution in cases disposed to hemorrhage.
Earlier observers - Chevallier, Elliotson, Bardsley, and others - thought iodine really curative in consumption. It can certainly lessen pulmonary induration and modify the irritative conditions of the bronchial mucous membrane and the character of expectoration; in fact, I have seen most symptoms improve under its use, but this must be supplemented by hygiene and generous living. Dr. Cotton's experience at Brompton Hospital was not so favorable: weight was seldom gained under iodide of potassium - generally diminished; dyspepsia was sometimes induced; usually, no definite effect could be traced (Medical Times, ii., 1859). Dr. Julius Pollock, on the other hand, found the remedy very serviceable, and his patients gained weight under its use.
I have noted most benefit in cases of chronic phthisis, and especially when a syphilitic taint existed. Dr. B. W. Foster suggests that it acts by stimulation of the pancreas, thus promoting assimilation of fatty food, and Claude Bernard proved its elimination by that gland. Iodine inhalations in phthisis have proved of great value in my experience, exerting a disinfectant, and to some extent a resolvent action. It is important to guard against soreness of mouth and undue irritation of the air-passages during their use.