In Phthisis, the value of emetics has been strongly insisted upon by Morton, Simmons, Parr, Robinson, Reid, Marryat, De Vittis, and more recently by Dr. Marshall Hughes, who reports favourably of them in the early stages, but others have failed to recognise their value, and the practice has fallen into disuse.
3111. In Chronic Bronchitis, where no fever, no remarkable dyspnoea, or acceleration of the pulse is present, and where the bronchial secretion is very copious, you will be able to produce very good effects by giving an emetic every night, for two or three nights, before you begin with remedies calculated to arrest the super-secretion of the lung. It is productive of a double advantage in such cases: a large quantity of mucus is discharged from the stomach and lungs, expectoration is rendered more easy, the tongue becomes clean, and the appetite is improved. (Dr. Graves.) In the Bronchitis of Typhus Fever, an emetic of Mustard, observes Dr. Murchison,§ is said to act sometimes like a charm, by promoting copious expectoration and allowing free ingress of air into the bronchial tubes, so as to save the patient from impending suffocation. (Lyons.)
3112. In Spasmodic Asthma, an emetic of Ipecacuanha has been used with evident advantage in some cases (see Ipecacuanha); and the same treatment has been found useful in the early stage of Hooping-Cough.
In the first or acute stage, an antimonial or Ipecacuanha emetic should be promptly given, with a view of reducing the vascular excitement, and of preventing the accumulation of effused matter in the airpassages. In the third stage, emetics should be given to procure the discharge of the false membrane, &c, from the trachea. In the third stage, Dr. Dewees prefers Senega to all other emetics; whilst others employ Squills, Infusion of Chamomile, &c. In the second stage, they are useless or injurious.
* See Ranking's Half-Yearly Abstract, vol. xiii. p. 30, 1851. Guy's Hosp. Reports, vol. xi.
Clin. Lect., vol. ii. p. 16. § On Fevers, &c., 1862, p. 283.
3114. In Cynanche Tonsillaris, an emetic given at the very outset of the disorder, may sometimes succeed in cutting it short. It also occasionally is useful in the more advanced stages. (See Zinci Sulphas.)
In Cholera, the value of emetics has been variously estimated. On reference to Mr. Ross's table (sect. 1414), it will be seen that the lowest rate of mortality was that in which emetics of Antimony and Chloride of Sodium were employed. With reference to the first of these (Tartar Emetic), the numbers are too small to allow us to form a correct estimate; and with regard to the latter, the free use of cold water, taken ad libitum, may materially have influenced the result. Experience has failed to confirm the high opinion at one time entertained of their utility, and they have fallen into comparative disuse.