Antidotes are remedies which counteract the effect of poisons.

Action. - Antidotes may act in two ways; they may either prevent the action of the poison on the body, or they may counteract its effects. Many of them, especially those which are employed in the case of mineral poisons, form chemical compounds with the poisons which are almost insoluble and therefore inert.

Some of these compounds though nearly insoluble will nevertheless be gradually dissolved and absorbed if left too long in the stomach, and therefore it is advisable to remove them by means of emetics or by the stomach-pump or stomach-syphon as soon as possible. Indeed, it is advisable in all cases of poisoning", when the substance has been taken into the stomach, to empty the stomach at once before proceeding to administer the antidote. The only possible exception is when a highly corrosive substance has been taken which may have partially dissolved the wall of the stomach and rendered it extremely liable to rupture during emesis, or on the introduction of a stomach-tube. If the poison has been absorbed, we must try to counteract its poisonous action on the respiration, circulation, or temperature, by giving substances which will tend to produce an opposite effect.

The more common poisons with their antidotes are given in the following table:

Poisonous Gases

Sulphuretted hydrogen..............

Chlorine cautiously inhaled.

Chlorine ..................................

Steam inhalations.

Bromide.......

Iodine vapour...........................

Vapour of ammonia..................

Vapour of vinegar.

Carbon monoxide......................

Fresh air and artificial respiration.

Transfusion.

Nitrous oxide ...

Artificial respiration, with the tongue drawn forward, and with intermittent pressure over the cardiac region if the heart is failing.

Coal gas.....

Artificial respiration.

Charcoal fumes. . .

Alternate warm and cold douche to the head and chest.

Carbonic acid (choke damp).....

Friction.

Marsh gas ...

Mustard plasters over surface.

Fire damp . . . .

Acids

Alkalies-

Acids

Bicarbonate of sodium or potassium.

Magnesia.

Sulphuric.............

Chalk or whiting.

Hydrochloric.............

Plaster from the wall.

Nitric...............

Soap.

Phosphoric . . .

Milk.

Eggs beaten up.

Olive or almond oil.

Oxalic acid . . . .

Chalk or whiting, or plaster from the wall, with water.

Bin-oxalate of potassium (salts of lemon or salts of sorrel) .

Tartaric acid . . .

Acetic acid . . . .

Hydrocyanic acid . .

Alternate cold and warm affusions.

Artificial respiration.

Injection of atropine (2 to 4 minims of liquor atropinae) repeated every half-hour.

Per- and proto- salts of iron, with magnesia, are recommended to render the acid insoluble, but it acts so quickly that there is usually no time for their application.

Alkalies

Caustic potash or soda

Vinegar.

Caustic lime. . .

Lemon juice.

Caustic ammonia . .

Other dilute acids.

Carbonate of sodium or potassium....

Milk.

Oil.

Alkaloids, Etc

Aconite....................

Spirits.

Ammonia.

Warmth.

Digitalis.

Atropine..

Alcohol......................

Coffee.

Cold douche to head.

Anaesthetics ....

Artificial respiration, inversion, etc.

Chloroform, ether, etc.

Antimony ....

If vomiting does not occur wash out the stomach with water first; then with tannic or gallic acid; then give milk and white of egg as demulcent to stomach.

Arsenic..........................

Wash out the stomach with large draughts of warm water, either by the stomach-pump, or if the arsenic itself does not cause vomiting, by using sulphate of zinc.

Give magnesia, or still better, freshly precipitated oxide of iron made by precipitating a solution of perchloride of iron with carbonate of sodium or with ammonia. Dialysed iron is also very useful.

Atropine.......................

Give stimulants and coffee; inject caffeine subcutaneously; arouse from stupor, as in opium-poisoning, and, if necessary, artificial respiration.

Give cautiously physostigma.

Barium salts . . .

Give Epsom or Glauber's salts or dilute sulphuric acid.

Belladonna. Vide Atropine.

Burnett's Disinfecting Fluid. Vide Metallic Salts

Calabar bean . . .

Stimulants.

Atropine.

(Artificial respiration if necessary.

Cannabis Indica. Vide Morphine.

Cantharides . ...

Large quantity of demulcent drinks.

Barley water.

Gruel.

Linseed tea.

Avoid oils and fats.

Alkaloids, Etc

Carbolic acid . . .

Saccharated lime.

. Stimulants.

Cherry laurel water. Vide Hydrocyanic Acid.

Chloral.....

Keep patient warm.

Arouse him.

Give him coffee per rectum.

Liquor strychnine, 4 minims, subcu-taneously, repeated every 10 to 20 minutes, if necessary.

Bichromate of potassium. Same as Acids.

Colchicum ....

Tannic or

Gallic acid.

Stimulants.

Conium.....

Tannic acid.

Stimulants.

Coffee.

Quinine.....

Tannic or

Gallic acid.

Strong tea or coffee.

Stimulants warmed.

Artificial respiration.

Copper. Vide Metallic Salts.

Corrosive sublimate. Vide Metallic Salts.

Creasote. Vide Carbolic Acid

Croton oil ....

Demulcents.

Stimulants.

Curare.................................

Artificial respiration.

If there is a wound, ligature above it if possible, and incise and suck strongly.

The ligature should be loosened from time to time, and again tightened, so as not to let too much poison into the blood at once.

Cyanide of potassium. Vide Hydrocyanic Acid.

Digitalis.....................

Strong tea.

Tannin.

Stimulants.

Aconite, 5 minims of the tincture sub-cutaneously.

Keep perfectly quiet, lying in bed.

Ergot......

Tannin.

1 Stimulants.

Alkaloids, etc.

Gelsemium.....................

Atropine.

Stimulants.

Artificial respiration.

Hyoscyamus. Vide Atropine.

Insect powder. Vide Arsenic.

Laburnum . . . .

Stimulants.

Coffee.

Alternate hot and cold douches to chest.

Lead. Vide Metallic Salts.

Lobelia..................................

Tannin.

Stimulants.

Strychnine hypodermically (5 minims of liq. strychninse).

Metallic salts . . .

White of egg freely to form insoluble compound: then wash out stomach to remove it: afterwards demulcents.

Poultices to surface, and morphine if necessary.

Morphine.....

Warm coffee after the stomach is emptied.

Ammonia.

Arouse by flicking with a towel, or by galvanic battery, and keep awake by walking about and renewal of stimulation if necessary.

2 to 4 minims of liq. atropinae subcuta-neously.

Artificial respiration, if necessary.

Mushrooms . . . .

2 to 4 minims liq. atropinae, subcuta-neously: repeat if necessary.

Castor oil.

Stimulants.

Nitro-benzol....

Stimulants.

Alternate hot and cold douche.

Nitrite of Amyl. . .

Artificial respiration.

Nitro-glycerin . . .

Cold to head.

Ergotin.

Atropine, subcutaneously.

Oil of Bitter Almonds. Vide Hydrocyanic acid.

Opium. Vide Morphine

Phosphorus . . . .

Sulphate of copper.

Oil of turpentine, old and oxidised.

Avoid oils and fats.

Alkaloids, etc.

Physostigma . . .

Stimulants.

Atropine.

Chloral.

Strychnine.

Artificial respiration.

Picrotoxine . . .

Chloral.

Bromide of potassium.

Pilocarpine ....

Atropine.

Rat-paste. Vide Phosphorus.

Savin......................

Epsom salts.

Demulcents.

Snake-bite ....

Ligature limb, cut out part with penknife and sear with hot iron.

Alcoholic stimulants.

Ammonia.

Artificial respiration.

Stramonium. Vide Atropine.

Strychnine.................

Chloroform.

Tannin.

Bromide of potassium.

Chloral.

Turpentine (oil of)...........

Tannin.

Stimulants, warm.

Strychnine.

Turpentine (oil of).

Demulcents.

Sulphate of magnesium.

Veratrine.................

Stimulants.

Coffee, warm.

Recumbent posture.

Vermin-killer. Vide Strychnine.