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..
A mixture of Phenols, chiefly Guaiacol (C7H8O2) and Creosol (C8H10O2) obtained during the distillation of wood tar, preferably of that derived from the beech Fagus Sylvatica Linne (nat. ord. Cupuliferae.)
An almost colorless, slightly yellowish or pinkish, highly refractive, oily liquid, having a penetrating smoky odor, and a burning caustic taste, usually becoming darker in tint on exposure to light. Sp. gr., not below 1.070. Solubility. - In 150 parts of water; freely in Alcohol, Ether, Chloroform and glacial Acetic Acid.
Carbolic Acid which coagulates albumin and collodion. Creosote does not.
Explodes when mixed with Silver oxide.
Dose, 1/2 to 2 m.; .03 to .12 c.c.
Creosote Water. Creosote, 10; distilled water, 990.
Dose, 1 to 4 fl. dr.; 4. to 15. c.c
Creosote has the same action as carbolic acid, and before that was introduced, creosote was used externally as a stimulating antiseptic, a parasiticide and a slight local anaesthetic; and internally it was given for vomiting and flatulence. An aching tooth may be relieved if it is plugged with cotton thoroughly moistened in creosote. The most important use of creosote is as a pulmonary antiseptic, administered by the mouth, hypodermatically, or by inhalation. To Bouchard and Gimbert belongs the credit of introducing the use of creosote in cases of tuberculosis. It can be administered in the form of an emulsion with cod-liver oil and acacia; or with the hypophosphites and cod-liver oil; or with the syrup of wild cherry and acacia, two minims; .12 c.c; of the creosote being contained in a drachm; 4 c.c. of the emulsion, or in a mixture of glycerin and whiskey. The dose should be one-half to two minims; .03 to .12 c.c, given thrice daily, and increased to twenty to twenty-five minims; 1.20 to 1.50 c.c. in the twenty-four hours, by easy stages. Administered in the form of enteric pills (which will dissolve only in the intestinal fluids), a daily dosage of forty-five to fifty minims; 3.00 to 3.30 c.c. can be reached without inconvenience. This method is preferable to that of Sommerbrodt, which consists in the administration of one minim; .06 c.c. of creosote in two minims; 12 c.c. of cod-liver oil, in capsules. The method of hypodermatic injection in sterilized olive oil requires a special apparatus, is very tedious, somewhat painful, and altogether irksome to patient and physician. By inhalation it is employed with equal parts of alcohol and spirit of chloroform, or in alcohol, one part to eight, in a perforated zinc inhaler, of which 15 minims; 1. c.c, are placed upon a bit of cotton and used for fifteen minutes in every hour. If the best beechwood creosote is employed, no untoward results are likely to be obtained. If the dose is increased too rapidly there may occur some nausea, epigastric uneasiness, and even vomiting. Disturbance of the kidneys has been produced and the urine presents practically the same appearance as after the injection of carbolic acid (see p. 331). The stomach symptoms have been relieved by the patient placing himself upon his back, for half an hour after administration of the remedy. It is quite likely that the patient acquires a tolerance, for the daily dose of three hundred minims; 20. c.c. has been given for a considerable time, with benefit, although fifty minims; 3.30 c.c. should be considered as the maximum daily dose. Creosote is more efficient than either of its principal constituents, guaiacol or creosol, even if given in proportionate dose. Creosote should never be given to the aged. Creosote carbonate (not official) which contains 92 per cent. of creosote, does not possess the caustic and irritative properties of the pure creosote, and can be administered in dose of from 15 to 60 m.; 1. to 4. c.c, in a wineglass of sherry after meals. As it is slowly absorbed it is probable that it is eliminated in greater part by the bronchial mucous membrane. Since it does not irritate the gastro-intestinal tract nor the kidneys it is the method of choice in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.