Origin

This is made by rubbing together carbonate of ammonia and sulphate of copper. A reaction takes place, attended with the escape of carbonic acid, and resulting in the formation of a moist deep-blue mass, which, when dried, constitutes the preparation in question.

Composition

Different opinions have been held as to the precise composition of this salt. The most probable is that which considers it a compound of one equivalent of sulphate of ammonia, and one of cuprate of ammonia, the oxide of copper performing the part of an acid in the latter salt.

Properties

It is in the form of a coarse powder, having a beautiful deep azure-blue colour, the smell of ammonia, and an astringent metallic taste. It is readily soluble in water. On exposure to the air, it is gradually decomposed, giving out ammonia, and assuming a greenish colour. It should, therefore, be kept in well-stopped bottles.

Incompatibles. These are the same as in the case of the sulphate, with the addition of the acids.

Effects on the System

Ammoniated copper has the physiological properties of the preparations of copper in general; being less astringent and irritant than the sulphate, but supposed to act more energetically on the nervous centres. In over-doses, it is capable of producing poisonous effects.

Therapeutic Application

This preparation has been chiefly used in reference to its effects upon the nervous system, in various spasmodic) convulsive, and neuralgic affections. In epilepsy, it has been considerably employed, and is among the remedies which have been most effectual, and are at present most relied on. In these respects, it probably stands next to nitrate of silver, over which it has the great advantage of not discolouring the skin. To sulphate of copper it is preferable, from being somewhat less disposed to irritate the stomach, and perhaps somewhat more effective as an antispasmodic. It should be persevered in for a long time, care being taken to guard against any obvious injurious effects on the system. In chorea, hysteria, pertussis, spasmodic asthma, and neuralgia, it has been recommended, and may be resorted to upon failure with other less irritant substances. It has been used also in intermittent/ever, in dropsy, and against worms in the bowels.

Administration

The dose is half a grain, three or four times a day, to be increased, if necessary to obtain its curative effects, to four or five grains, unless it should prove irritant to the stomach. It is most conveniently given in pills, made like those of the sulphate, and may often be usefully associated with assafetida.

A solution of it in water has been used as an injection in gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea, a collyrium in opacity of the cornea, a wash in prurigo, and a stimulant application to indolent ulcers. According to the effect desired, the strength of the solution may vary from one to thirty grains to the fluidounce of water.