Made by dropping glycerin in a mixture of sulphuric and nitric acids kept ice-cold; separating by pouring the product into water, washing, and evaporating to a proper density. A colorless, oily liquid, odorless, with sweet, pungent taste; slightly soluble in water and freely so in oils, alcohol, and ether.

If heated in a close vessel, or if subjected to percussion, it will explode. Mixed with porous silica, nitro-glycerin constitutes dynamite. It is never used undiluted in medicine. If spilled on the floor it may be dangerous. Pour potassium hydroxide on it to cause decomposition.

Spiritus Glycerilis Nitratis. Spirit of Glyceryl Trinitrate. Spirit of Nitroglycerin.

A one-per-cent. alcoholic solution of glyceryl trinitrate. It should be kept cool, away from lights or fire.

Physiological Actions

Nitroglycerin is the most powerful of the nitrites. Its physiological actions resemble very strongly those of amyl nitrite but in a greater degree, and the effects, while less prompt in appearing, are more lasting, being developed in from three to five minutes, and continuing for about forty-five minutes.

Depression of the motor centres, dilatation of the blood-vessels, and lowering of the blood pressure are the chief factors in the action of nitro-glycerin. The first signs manifest are perspiration and quickened heart action, with, sometimes, a dicrotic pulse; disturbed respiration, flushed face, vertigo, constriction of the head and throat, occasional nausea, throbbing of the carotids, and headache, which is of a severe frontal type, and lasts sometimes for hours after other effects have worn away. In some cases albumin in the urine is diminished by nitro-glycerin.

Symptoms Of Poisoning

Poisonous doses cause heart failure, with slow, intermittent, and very irregular pulse; dilated pupils; a feeling of weakness in the epigastrium; and intense headache, with a feeling as of a tight band around the head.

Symptoms of poisoning not resulting in death have followed doses of from two to ten drops of the alcoholic solution.

Nitro-glycerin is given in tablets, or in the form of the alcoholic solution, strength 1 per cent. This preparation should be constantly renewed, as it decomposes with age. In the case of an unconscious patient it may be dropped on the back of the tongue. Average dose, e i.-0.05 mil, in a little glycerin.