(Aqua Fortis.)

Nitric acid is prepared from nitre by distillation with water and sulphuric acid. A colorless, intensely acid, fuming liquid, containing 68 per cent acid, the rest water.

Physiological Actions

It is a very powerful caustic, and if used in this way the sound tissues should be protected by a coating of oil or soap, or sheet-lint wet in a solution of bicarbonate of soda, and the spot cauterized be washed with warm soap-suds after sufficient effect has been obtained.

Taken internally in medicinal doses it has stimulant and astringent properties.

Poisoning And Antidotes

In concentrated form nitric acid is an exceedingly corrosive poison, even more violent than sulphuric acid. Like the latter, it destroys the membrane lining of the mouth, oesophagus, and stomach. The symptoms are the same, except that nitric acid stains the tissues yellow instead of black. They come on with the same severity, and immediately. The antidotes are the same, and death occurs on an average in half a day, or a day.

Preparations

Nitric Acid is used in preparing Acidum Nitro-hydrochloricum in its strong and diluted forms. There is no longer an official preparation of diluted nitric acid for medicinal use.

Acidum Hydrochloricum. Hydrochloric (Muriatic) Acid

Hydrochloric acid is obtained by the action of sulphuric acid on chloride of sodium, and solution of the fumes in water until it has a strength of about 31 per cent. An almost colorless, very acid liquid, with pungent odor. It is one of the natural acids of the stomach, and acts as a tonic on the glands of the alimentary canal, increasing the normal secretions. Its astringent properties are not marked. In concentrated form it is a corrosive poison, not as powerful as nitric or sulphuric acids. The symptoms and treatment are like the other two.

Acidum Hydrochloricum Dilutum. Diluted Hydrochloric Acid

Has a strength of about 10 per cent. Average dose, e xv.-I mil, well diluted and given after meals.

Acidum Nitrohydrochloricum. Nitrohydrochloric Acid

Made by mixing 180 parts of nitric with 820 parts of hydrochloric acid. An orange-colored liquid, changing color in time, and more rapidly on exposure to light, to a light yellow. In medicinal doses the physiological effects are: stimulation of the liver especially, and also of the other glands of the alimentary canal. Besides being given internally, it is used in local applications over the liver, and in baths. In the former case, for stupes, the strength is ʒ i.-iii. to O. i. of water; and in the latter, ℥ i. to C. i. In poisonous doses the effects are the same as the other mineral acids. The stains it produces are yellow. The same antidotes are used as given before.

In giving any of the mineral acids, the first symptoms of intolerance are: griping pains and diarrhoea, with strongly acid urine. These points are to be remembered, as well as the necessity for protecting the teeth.

Acidum Nitrohydrochloricum Dilutum. Diluted Nitrohydrochloric Acid

Average Dose, E X

0.65 mil, well diluted and given through a glass tube.