A liquid element obtained from sea-water and from certain mineral springs. A dark, brownish-red, very volatile liquid, of strong and suffocating odor. When brought into contact with organic matter it oxidizes and destroys it with great rapidity. Its local action is, therefore, powerfully irritant and escharotic. It is also a deodorant and antiseptic. It is never given internally, alone, but has been used as a caustic, and the vapor has been used medicinally.

Preparations Of Bromine

Potassii Bromidum. Potassium Bromide

Prepared by adding a solution of pure carbonate of potash to a solution of bromide of iron, filtering, and evaporating. Colorless crystals, soluble in 1 6/10 parts water.

Physiological Actions

Potassium bromide lessens cerebral activity, and the tendency to "emotionalism"; diminishes the sensibility and irritability of the mind in various nervous states; such, for instance, as result from excessive mental strain, anxiety, or intellectual work; and produces a condition of anaemia of the brain such as is found in natural sleep. It is thus an indirect hypnotic, not acting like opium or chloral, but inducing sleep by bringing about a physiological condition favorable to its advent. Bromide of potash is depressing to the heart and respirations, both being slowed and weakened by its action. The spinal centres, spinal nerves, and the muscles are all depressed, and the temperature somewhat lowered, though not to any marked extent. Bromide of potassium contains 66 per cent. of bromine. Dose, gr. x.-xx. (0.65-1.3 Gm.)

Ammonii Bromidum. Ammonium Bromide

Prepared by precipitating the freshly made solution of bromide of iron with ammonia water. The salt remaining in solution is crystallized and powdered. It is soluble in 1 1/2 parts of water. The effects and uses of bromide of ammonia are very like those of the bromide of potash, and it is said to be, in addition, slightly stimulating. It is not much used.

Average dose, gr. xv.-I Gm

Sodii Bromidum Sodium Bromide

Colorless crystals, soluble in 1 2/10 parts of water, and containing 98 per cent. of sodium bromide. It resembles potassium bromide, and has very much the same qualities. It is considered less depressing, and the least toxic of all the bromide preparations. There is a variety of opinions as to its hypnotic power compared with that of potassium bromide.

Average dose, gr. xv.-I Gm.

Lithii Bromidum. Lithium Bromide

A granular, very soluble salt, containing 98 per cent. of lithium bromide. In addition to the hypnotic power of the bromides in general it is said to have some tonic and diuretic action.

Average dose, gr. xv.-I Gm.

Incidental Effects

In giving a course of the bromides it is very essential that the state of the digestion and of the bowels be carefully watched, and the latter strictly regulated, for the accumulation of an excess of bromine in the system causes a series of symptoms known as "bromism." The first is usually a salty taste in the mouth, with salivation and fetid breath. Next come drowsiness, heaviness, and sluggishness of intellect, loss of memory, partial aphasia, depressed spirits, a staggering gait, dull, listless expression, sluggish pupils, and sometimes an infrequency of winking.

One of the marked features of bromism is the appearance of eruptions of the skin, in great variety, and of varying severity. All manner of skin lesions have been described as resulting from the use of bromine, even to one resembling that of smallpox. The most common is a simple acne or eruption of pimples. It sometimes occurs early, or after the use of small doses, yet is not always among the first symptoms.

The bromides are excreted by the kidneys chiefly, also by the salivary and mammary glands, the skin, and all mucous surfaces. They are rapidly diffused, appearing in the secretions a few moments after being taken.