Arsenious Acid. AsO3. "White Oxide of Arsenic. Arsenicum Album. White Arsenic, vulgo Arsenic, is a compound of Arsenic 75.76, Oxygen 24.24, in 100 parts; or 1 Eq. Arsenic = 75 + 3 Oxygen (3 x 8) = 24 = 99, Eq. Wt.
Med. Prop. and Action. Arsenious Acid, in doses of from one-sixtieth to one-twelfth of a grain, is alterative; and, if persevered in, tonic, increasing the appetite, and improving the quantity and quality of the secretions. In doses of gr. 1/16 - gr. 1/12, or even somewhat larger doses, it is a powerful anti-periodic. When swallowed, or applied to a denuded surface, it is absorbed into the system, and has been detected in the blood, in the urine, and also in the liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, and muscles. It possesses a powerful antiseptic property, arresting, in a manner almost peculiar to itself, the process of putrefaction; the stomach and alimentary canal of persons who have died from its effects have been found in a perfect state of preservation, months after interment. Postmortem examinations of persons who have died from excessive doses show a great extent of intestinal inflammation, of which the stomach, small intestines, and rectum are the chief seats; in some cases, ulceration has been observed; and, more rarely, gangrene. The fauces and windpipe are occasionally involved. The morbid appearances of other parts vary in almost every case. Small doses, long continued, accumulate in the system, and occasionally produce serious, and even fatal effects. Under its prolonged use, it occasions a general sinking of the vital powers, with derangement of the digestive and nervous systems; a small, quick, and sometimes irregular pulse, want of sleep, and swelling of the face and extremities. These effects, however, are onlyobs. where the remedy has been injudiciously administered for too long a period. Of 320 cases in which this remedy was given by Dr. Fowler. no immediate operation occurred, in one-third; relaxed bowels, in somewhat more than one-third; nausea, in one-third; vomiting, purging, swellings, and .anorexia Were comparatively rare. Mr. Hunt observes amongst the effect of medicinal doses, 1, an irritation of the conjunctiva; 2, swelling of the face: 8, a slight desquamation of the skin, observable only under a magnifying glass; 4, the portions of the skin protected from the access of light, assume a dingy brown appearance. Dr. Watson also mentions, amongst other symptoms, a peculiar silvery whiteness of the tongue. Salivation has also been observed in some instances; and, if the medicine be long continued, the urine occasionally acquires a jaundiced appearance. With respect to the tolerance of this medicine acquired by habit, Dr. T. Von Tschudi * states that, in Austria, the peasants take it in large quantities, in order to gain embonpoint, and to render themselves long-winded. For this purpose, they commence with about half a grain, and gradually increase the dose, until a piece of about the weight of 4 grains is taken. He mentions the case of one man of about 60 years of age, who, for more than 40 yoars, had followed the practice. It appears to produce no ill effect, so long as the drug is continued; but, when the indulgence is stopped, symptoms of illness are sure to appear, which have the closest resemblance to those produced from poisoning by Arsenic. The symptoms produced by excessive or poisonous doses are very various. Dr. Guyt gives the following instructive analysis of 25 cases: - Vomiting present in 23; in 1, not until artificially induced; in 1 or 2, it has been absent. The vomited matters consisted, in 3 cases, of blood; in 1, of mucus only; in 1, of water containing arsenic; in 1, of bile; and in 1, of bile and fAeces. Diarrhoea was present in 11, excessive in 7, absent in 4. The matters passed by stool consisted, in 3 cases, of blood; and in 2, of matter resembling green paint. Pain, present in 19, absent in 1; in 2, it subsided after a short time. The tongue and throat constricted, hot, painful, and tense, in 9 cases. Thirst: Of 17 cases, it was present in 15, absent in 2; and, in 13, it is described as intense. Countenance flushed and swollen, in 7 cases; and pale and anxious in 5. Eyes, inflamed, swollen, or smarting, in 7 cases. Skin, hot and dry in 6 cases; covered with cold perspiration in 4; profuse perspiration, with petechiAe, in 3; universal!! desquamation in 1; eczematous eruption in 1. Headache in 9 cases, absent in 1; described as intense in 4. Pulse, generally very frequent, but variable, ranging from 90 to 140 or more; in 1, from 30 to 49. Violent palpitations in 2. Extreme restlessness in 5. Extreme debility in 10. Coma in 3; and delirium in 3. Mind unimpaired in 6. Cramps of legs in 9 cases; in 4, extending to the arms. Convulsions in 6. Paralysis of the tongue and gullet in 3. Tetanus in 2. Chorea in 1. Hysteria in 1. Epilepsy in 2 cases. Death took place in 3 cases, in the midst of convulsions; and, in 1, after a horrible fit of convulsive laughter, followed by a rigid spasm of the whole body.
* Med. Chir. Rev. July 1, 1842.
Med. Times and Gaz. Jan. 30 1864, p. 117.
Offic. Prep. Liquor Arsenicalis. (See Art. Liq. Arsenic.)
Dose, gr. 1/60 - gr. 1/12.
Incompatibles, similar to Liquor Arsenicalis.
Contra-Indications. 1, all sthenic diseases, attended by strong arterial action; 2, irritable states of the stomach, and alimentary canal; 3, inflammatory pulmonary affections; 4, infancy and childhood.