This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Ether, allowed to evaporate, may be used to cause local anaesthesia in cases of neuralgia. An ether spray is occasionally employed to produce local anaesthesia for small operations, but as the ether makes the skin hard and brawny the operation must be quite superficial, and even then there is much subsequent tingling and pain.
Stomach. - It may be used for the same classes of dyspepsia as chloroform or alcohol, and is often employed as a carminative to expel gas in flatulent dyspepsia.
Administered subcutaneously (dose, 10 to 15 minims) .60 to 1.00 c.c or by the mouth, ether is an excellent cardiac stimulant of great value in fainting, cardiac failure, or palpitation; its advantage over chloroform and alcohol being that it is more rapid in its action. It is very useful as an anti-spasmodic during an attack of asthma.
Ether is inhaled for the same purpose as chloroform. There is great divergence of opinion as to which is the safer anaesthetic. All the published statistics in which the two are contrasted appear to show that ether is much safer, and this is what might have been expected from the contrast between the two already given. Chloroform is administered carelessly more often than ether, as it is easier to give; but even allowing for this, ether is probably, on the whole, safer. The nausea and vomiting which sometimes follow the administration of ether may, it is said, be checked by giving 15 grains 1.00 gm. of sodium bromide. Very often anaesthesia is commenced with a few inhalations of nitrous oxide gas, and then completed with ether. This is much pleasanter for the patient than to use ether from the first.