This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol2", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
Wakefulness and Delirium. To promote sleep, chloroform has been used with advantage in delirium tremens, in the violent paroxysms of chronic insanity, and in the extreme restlessness and delirium of the low forms of fever. in the two former affections, it has been administered by inhalation; in the febrile disorder, only by the mouth, twenty or thirty drops being given every hour. i. confess that I should have some apprehensions of its sedative effect in simple delirium tremens, which is essentially a disease of debility, and in which, according to my own observation, the greatest danger arises from prostration. it should never, I think, be employed in that affection unless in connection with one of the cerebral stimulants, as alcohol or ether, while opium is at the same time given by the mouth. in the restlessness and occasional excitement of puerperal insanity, the remedy has proved very useful; and it is thought to have contributed to the cure of the affection.* it might be resorted to with the same object in ordinary mania, when opium may from any cause be forbidden. it is said to be peculiarly useful in cases of the disease characterized by resistance to the taking of food. in the lunatic hospital at Zurich, it has been used with full success in overcoming this resistance; and it has not been found necessary to repeat the measure more than twice or three times. (Ann. de Thérap., 1860, p. 78; from the Swiss Med. Echo.) inflammations. Chloroform has been less used in inflammatory complaints than its sedative powers would seem to justify, if not to demand. But, unless in exceptional instances, or when the vapours are largely inhaled, the influence of the remedy is comparatively little felt by the circulation; and there are other sedatives which are much more to be relied on. Nevertheless it has been recommended in pneumonia and in cerebrospinal meningitis. in the former complaint it has been used by Varen-trapp, of Frankfort, Germany, with extraordinary success. He employed 60 drops of it, placed on cotton so that the vapours might be inhaled for ten or fifteen minutes, and repeated the dose every two, three, or four hours; taking care that it should not produce unconsciousness. (See Am. Journ. of Med. Sci., N. S., xxiii. 517.) MM. Trousseau and Pidoux speak of the advantageous use of anaesthetic inhalations by M. Besseron, in an epidemic of cerebro-spinal meningitis, occurring at Algiers; but do not state whether the agent employed was ether or chloroform. Of fourteen cases, six were cured, and the remainder suffered no aggravation from the treatment. (Trait, de Thérap., II. 190.)
* See a paper by A. T. H. Waters, medical attendant at the Liverpool Asylum, in the American Journal of insanity, April, 1857, p. 341, from the Journal of Psychological Medicine, etc.
Various Affections. For the alleviation of cough in ordinary catarrh, phthisis, and other pectoral complaints, chloroform has been used internally with advantage in connection with expectorants, and may be substituted for opium when this may be contraindicated. it has been used also, in the same way, with success, in the relief of the epigastric uneasiness and general depression of spirits attendant on hypochondriasis. Dr. J. E. Taylor, of New York, relates a case of extremely obstinate regurgitation of food, which, after a fruitless trial of many remedies, yielded to the inhalation of chloroform, applied immediately after eating, and managed so as to keep up a partial influence for about an hour and a half. The remedy was used but twice, at the interval of a day. (N. York Journ. of Med., 3d series, i. 300.) The internal use of it has been suggested in biliary calculi, under the impression that it may prove useful by dissolving the cholesterin which they frequently contain. (M. Gobley, Ann. de Thérap., 1862, p. 31.) As an antiperiodic, the inhalation has been proposed and effectively used in intermittent fever. it has also proved useful in scrofulous photophobia. Chloroform has been recommended as an injection in gonorrhoea; but, if employed for this purpose, it should be largely diluted with some bland fixed oil. it is said to have been used successfully, as a local application, in the cure of scabies. Dr. A. P. Morrell, of N. York, has used it very advantageously, as an internal remedy, in the chill of fevers, not only relieving the chill itself, but sometimes also preventing or much moderating the febrile reaction. He gives in these cases a fluidrachm, to be repeated if necessary. (Am. Journ. of Med. Sci., Oct. 1865, p. 334.) Sir J. Y. Simpson speaks of anaesthesia from chloroform as useful in the diagnosis of pregnancy. The abdominal muscles become so perfectly relaxed that the fingers may be pressed against the spine, and thus the uterus may be determined to be of the natural size. (Med. Times and Gaz., Sept. 1859, p. 250.)