This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Materia Medica, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by George F. Butler. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of materia medica, pharmacology and therapeutics.
Description and. Properties. - A colorless, transparent liquid, having a pungent odor, an acrid, alkaline taste, and a strongly alkaline reaction. It should be kept in glass-stoppered bottles, in a cool place.
Dose. - 10-20 minims (0.6-1.2 Cc.) well diluted [15 minims (1 Cc), U. S. P.]
Spiritus Ammoniae Aromaticus - Spiritus Ammoniae Aromaltici. See Ammonium Carbonate.
Ammonii Carbonas - Ammonii Carbonatis -Ammonium Carbonate. U. S. P.
Definition. - It should contain not less than 97 per cent. of a mixture of acid ammonium carbonate [CO(OH)ONH4] and ammonium carbamate [CO(NH1)ONH4], and should yield not less than 31.58 per cent. of ammonia gas.
Origin. - Prepared by subjecting to sublimation and resublimation a mixture of ammonium sulphate or chloride and calcium carbonate.
Description and. Properties. - White, hard, translucent, striated masses, having a strongly ammoniacal odor without empyreuma, and a sharp, saline taste. On exposure to air the salt loses both ammonia and carbonic acid, becoming opaque, and is finally converted into friable, porous lumps or a white powder. Slowly but completely soluble in about 5 parts of water; decomposed by hot water, with the elimination of carbonic acid and ammonia.
Ammonium carbonate should be kept in well-stoppered bottles, in a cool place.
Dose. - 2-15 grains (0.12-1.0 Gm.) [4 grains (0.25 Gm.), U. S. P.].
Spiritus Ammoniae Aromaticus - Spiritus Ammoniae Aromaltici - Aromatic Spirit of Ammonia (Ammonium Carbonate, 34; Ammonia Water, 90; Oil of Nutmeg, 1; Oil of Lemon, 10; Alcohol, 700; Oil of Lavender Flowers, I; Water to make 1000).
Description and Properties. - A nearly colorless liquid when freshly prepared, but gradually acquiring a somewhat darker tint. It has a pungent, ammoniacal odor and taste. It should be kept in glass-stoppered bottles, in a cool place.
Dose. - 1/2-2 fluidrams (1.8-7.3 Cc.) [3 minims (2 Cc), U. S. P.].
Antagonists and Incompatibles. - The cardiac sedatives are antagonistic. The incompatibles are the vegetable and mineral acids, the earthy salts, lime water, and solutions of acidulous salts.
Physiological Action. - Externally and Locally. - When solutions of ammonia are applied to the skin or mucous membranes they act as irritants, rubefacients, or vesicants according to the strength of the solution and the freedom or confinement of the vapor.
When inhaled the vapor occasions great irritation of the respiratory passages, together with a sense of suffocation and spasmodic closure of the glottis. There are also produced marked irritation of the conjunctivae, lachrymation, and a watery secretion from the nose.
Internally. - Digestive System. - Small doses act like alkalies upon the gastro-intestinal tract, augmenting the flow of gastric juice when given before meals and neutralizing it when given after meals.
Excessive doses occasion violent and destructive inflammation of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, possibly resulting in stricture of the esophagus and stenosis of the pyloric orifice.
Circulatory System. - These preparations, whether ingested or injected into the system, cause a temporary fall of arterial pressure, quickly followed by a decided increase and acceleration of the pulse, owing to nervous stimulation of the heart. Their precise action upon the blood is not known, though they certainly lessen the oxygen-carrying power of the red corpuscles and diminish the tendency to coagulation of the blood.
Nervous System. - Other than their action upon the sensory nerves when locally applied, these preparations affect the nervous system only in stimulating the motor centers of the spinal cord, excessive doses causing convulsions similar to strychnine.
Respiratory System. - They stimulate the respiratory center, greatly increasing the number of respirations.
Absorption and Elimination. - The preparations of ammonium are rapidly absorbed, being oxidized in the system and eliminated chiefly by the kidneys, increasing the acidity of the urine and augmenting its amount, as well as increasing the proportion of nitric acid, uric acid, and urea excreted. The continued use of ammonium preparations therefore promotes tissue-waste.
Temperature is unaffected by medicinal amounts.
Poisoning. - In toxic doses these preparations are powerful corrosive poisons, exciting violent inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract, labored respiration, great cardiac depression, muscular weakness, and possibly convulsions.
Treatment of Poisoning. -Similar to that of poisoning by the corrosive alkalies - evacuation of the stomach, the internal administration of vinegar or other vegetable acids, followed by oil and demulcent drinks, opium being indicated for the relief of pain.
Therapeutics. - Aqua ammoniae is a valuable ingredient of "hair tonics" in premature alopecia. The ammonia liniment is a favorite remedy for chilblains.
The aromatic spirit of ammonia is of value in many diseases of the scalp, such as pityriasis, etc., and, when well diluted with water, has been recommended in acute pharyngitis. The ammonium carbonate possesses an action similar to that of salicylic acid in its property of dissolving epidermic scales, rendering it of value in preparing the skin for the subsequent local treatment of psoriasis.
As a counterirritant ammonia water - or, preferably, the ammonium liniment - is efficient in chronic rheumatism and joint-affections.
Ammonia water relieves the irritation caused by bites of insects; its vapor inhaled acts as a rapid restorative in cases of fainting.
Internally. - The ammonium preparations here mentioned are serviceable in lessening excessive acidity of the stomach. The aromatic spirit of ammonia is frequently beneficial in allaying the distress of nervous headache, and is also an efficient remedy to counteract the effects of an immoderate use of alcoholic stimulants, in many cases having proved valuable in the treatment of delirium tremens.
The most important uses of these preparations are, perhaps, as powerful diffusible stimulants to the circulatory, respiratory, and spinal systems. They are of undoubted value in sudden cardiac failure arising from any cause, such as poisoning from chloroform, noxious gases, hydrocyanic acid, etc. Taken internally or by intravenous injection, they counteract the poisonous effects resulting from the bites of venomous reptiles.
The carbonate is an excellent stimulant to sustain the heart and respiration during the course of pneumonia, eruptive and continued fevers, etc. In all dynamic conditions of the heart this preparation should be given in small doses, frequently repeated.
The carbonate is also a valuable stimulant expectorant in chronic bronchitis and bronchopneumonia.
The preparations of ammonia have been recommended in threatened thrombosis. The condition being established, however, it should be noted that the method of treatment by intravenous injection, advocated by some authorities, is at best a very dubious procedure.
Contraindications. - Acute gastritis and conditions of excessive acidity of the urine. Conditions of anemia and great emaciation would contraindicate the prolonged use of these preparations.
Administration. - The liquid preparations should always be well diluted, and the carbonate should invariably be given in solution. The fluidextract of glycyrrhiza disguises the taste very well.
Owing to the rapid elimination of these drugs, the dosage should be frequently repeated.