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.
Other disorders, which may either be called "nervous" in character, or are connected at least with reflex nerve-disorder, and which the salts of silver have been found sometimes to relieve, are such as chorea, angina pectoris (Copland, Diet.), spasmodic asthma (Waring, Curci), palpitation (Kopp), vertigo (Rademacher), pertussis (Berger): for this last iodide is especially recommended. They have been given also in more general diseases, as intermittents (Sokolow), diabetes, and phthisis (Brady, Moore), the object desired in these latter cases being mainly to lessen the excessive discharges from the kidneys, the skin, and the bowels; in some instances they have certainly succeeded, though we could not expect them to alter the ultimate termination of such maladies. In dropsy the nitrate was given by Boerhaave as a purgative in 2-gr. doses, and has been more lately commended by Dreyer (Husemann). In syphilis the chloride and oxide were given by Serres and others, but their value has been disproved by Ricord. The ammonio-chloride has been used as a cathartic and a vermifuge.
The dose of the chloride is about the same as that of the oxide, though upward of 30 gr. have been given without gastric pain (Trousseau): the dose of iodide and other salts is also about the same as the oxide.
As a caustic the solid nitrate may be used alone, or "mitigated"- e.g., with nitrate of potash (Crayons de Barral, de Desmarres), or with sulphate also (Guyot). In default of a metal, or caoutchouc, or quill holder, melted sealing-wax forms a convenient coating, and a file, or friction with wet lint, sharpens the point better than a knife: for small fistula or numerous leech-bites, a silver probe, dipped as required in the melted salt, is very convenient. The finely powdered nitrate, diluted (as with sugar), has been used for the throat and larynx, and abroad, charpie, dipped in a strong solution and dried, is used as a dressing for indolent wounds, and known as the black or caustic charpie of Riboli (Husemann).
Of solutions, 40 gr. in the ounce will prove caustic to mucous membranes, and from 80 gr. upward caustic to the skin; distilled water, glycerin, or nitrous ether may be used as solvents (v. p. 14); opium may be added to diminish pain, and after a strong application the part, especially if it be the eye, should be bathed with warm salt water to neutralize any excess of caustic - 20 gr. to the ounce is a useful strength for an astringent solution, but a proportion of 10, 5, and even 1 gr. to the ounce is suitable according to the condition of the affected part, and may be used in lotion, injection, or collyrium, as already described, it being remembered that the weaker solutions require to be used the more frequently: the disadvantage of the salt staining linen must be borne in mind.
Both the nitrate and oxide have been used in stimulating and astrin-gent ointments: thus, in the Hamburg Pharm., 15 gr. are ordered with 1 dr. of Peruvian balsam and 1/2 oz. of zinc ointment (Ungt. Nigrum), and Lane used the oxide in specific and other ulceration, but I do not think ointments a good form of the remedy.
Since the salts of silver are readily decomposed, they should be mixed as little as possible with organic or mineral substances, and haloids, sulphides, alkalies, soaps, tannin, and astringent extracts should be excluded from prescriptions for silver compounds: it is important to mention, also, the exclusion of creosote, for explosions have occurred from its trituration with oxide of silver and organic substances. Solutions of the nitrate for internal use should be kept as much as possible from air and light, and are therefore commonly ordered in covered or dark-glass bottles: they may be made with distilled water or with glycerin, and sometimes a few drops of nitric acid are added to prevent reduction; syrup may be given with it for children. Delioux prescribed it with an equal part of salt in a weak, sweet, albuminous solution (white of egg), and Deniau added to this a small proportion of bromide of potassium to redissolve the precipitate; but, in such combinations, the object of which is to secure solubility and absorption, we are not giving the nitrate, but a complex chloro-albu-minate. Discoloration of the lips and teeth, and nauseous taste, are, however, drawbacks to the use of any solutions. A pill may be made with crumb of bread according to an old and well-known formula (Bou-din): the decomposition into chloride that may occur is unimportant (v.
p. 2). Argilla and silica and chocolate have been recommended as vehicles.
The oxide is always given in pill or confection, and this form is to be preferred for "constitutional" effects, or for an action on the lower parts of the intestinal tract. It is usual to direct a patient taking these medicines to abstain from much salted food before or after the dose, as likely to hinder absorption into the blood.
[Preparations, U. S. P. - Argenti cyanidum, used in preparing hydrocyanic acid; Argenti nitras; Argenti nitras fusa; Argenti oxidum.]