This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
Opium is contraindicated by a high state of febrile excitement with a full strong pulse, by determination of blood to the head threatening apoplexy, by hemorrhage in the brain, by acute inflammation of (he brain and its meninges, and in the early stage of all acute inflammations with a strong pulse, before sufficient preliminary reduction. Its direct stimulant properties render it inapplicable to conditions of high vascular excitement in general; and its special action on the brain, to those most emphatically, in which the cerebral centres are already actively congested.
Another special contraindication is acute inflammation of the mucous membranes, particularly that of the bronchial tubes, before secretion has become established. Here there is risk that its property of checking the secretion from these membranes may tend to aggravate the inflammation, by interfering with the process which nature has intended for the cure.
Nor should opium in general be given in parenchymatous hepatitis. in consequence of its strong influence in arresting the secretion of bile. and thus locking up the disease in the substance of the gland.
Excessive sweating, constipation of the bowels, a feeble digestion and want of appetite, and defective biliary secretion, are all more or less in opposition to the use of opium; but, when the indications for its use are decided, they should not be allowed to interfere; as means may be read-ily found to correct its ill effects in these conditions.
I think I have observed that opium sometimes aggravates cutaneous eruptions, through the direction which it frequently gives of irritation to the surface of the body.
We have been cautioned in relation to the use of opium in nursing and pregnant women, under the apprehension that, in the former, the impregnation of the milk with its active matter might prove injurious to the infant, and, in the latter, that the drug might prove poisonous to the foetus. I have myself noticed neither of these effects; but do not wish by this statement to invalidate the caution urged by others.