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ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICINE.
The doses of medicines vary not only with the drug itself, but also with the age, sex and condition of the patient. A list of doses for adults is appended; in giving medicine to children the following general rules may be followed :
For a child of one year the dose is usually one-twelfth of that given to an adult.
Between one and two years, - - One-eighth.
Between two and three years, - - One-sixth.
Between three and four years, - - One-fifth.
Between four and five years, - - One-fourth.
Between five and eight years, - - One-third.
Between eight and twelve years, - One-half.
Between twelve and sixteen years, - Two-thirds.
In every case the general condition and strength of the indi vidual must be taken into account in giving the medicine; in administering powerful drugs it will be better to give rather less than the amount indicated in this table.
Medicines are prescribed in this book according to the usual custom of physicians, by the weights and measures used by apothe caries ; it is advisable for families who are compelled to prepare their own medicines to have a set of weights and graduated glasses for this purpose. In most* instances sufficient accuracy in measure ment at least can be obtained by using spoons, after the following table :
A teaspoonful contains - One drachm or 60 drops.
A tablespoonful contains - Four drachms or half an ounce.
A wineglass contains - Two ounces.
A teacup contains - - Four ounces.
For measuring solid substances we may also employ spoons ; this is not, however, an accurate method, since the weight of solid substances varies extremely. Hence it is not advisable to employ this method in measuring out the doses of powerful drugs.
A teaspoonful contains - One drachm or 60 grains.
A tablespoonful contains - Four drachms or half an ounce.
In these measurements of solids the spoon should be filled level full.
In administering medicine to children it should be remembered that rather less than the proportionate dose should be given in using certain drugs. Thus opium has an unusual influence over children, who are especially susceptible to its action. In adminis tering any form of opium, therefore, less of the drug should be indicated by the above table of comparative ages. In fact opium should never be given to a child less than a year old, except upon the advice of a physician.
List of Medicines and Doses for Adults.
In the following table the effects of the different drugs are indicated in the second column by words which designate in a general way the properties of the various substances.
Some of these terms require explanation, since they are not employed outside of medicine.
An astringent is a drug which seem to cause contraction of the tissues. They are used to diminish discharges, and are hence employed in diarrhea, in ulcers of the skin, etc.
A tonic is a remedy which increases the strength of the indi vidual either by supplying some element which his system lacks, such as iron, or by improving the condition of his stomach so that this organ is better able to digest and absorb the nutritious ele ments of the food. The simple bitters, such as quassia, belong to this latter class of tonics.
A stimulant is a remedy which increases the strength of the heart's action. As a result, the blood is propelled in greater quan tity to different parts of the body, and the various functions are therefore performed in a more satisfactory manner. Familiar examples are hartshorn and whisky.
A sedative is a remedy which decreases the strength of the heart's action; they are required in cases of inflammation and sometimes in over-excitement of the brain, as in delirium. Aconite and prussic acid are examples of this class.
A narcotic is a remedy which diminished the activity of those parts of the brain concerned in consciousness; most of these remedies therefore decrease sensibility to pain. Opium is a familiar example.
An alterative is the name applied to remedies which induce certain effects in improving the constitutional condition. Arsenic and mercury are examples.
A diuretic is a remedy which increases the quantity of urine excreted. Sweet spirits of niter is an example.
A diaphoretic is a medicine which increases the quantity of perspiration. Alcohol and sweet spirits of niter are examples.
Many of the diaphoretics are also diuretics.
An expectorant is used to promote the separation of mucua from the air passages. Ipecac and senega are examples.
An emmenagogue is a remedy which promotes the menstrual flow. Tansy is a drug used for this purpose.
Various other designations are employed in medicines to indi cate the special effects of different drugs ; but those already given will suffice for our purpose.
Preparation of Medicines.Infusions are made by adding a pint of boiling water to an ounce of the plant, previously bruised and mashed. After standing for two or three hours in a covered vessel, the mixture is strained. Most infusions exert a greater effect when taken warm.
Decoctions are made by adding a pint and a half of water to an ounce of the plant, boiling down to one pint, and straining.
Extracts are made by adding a small amount of alcohol to the bruised leaves or other parts of the plant. The juice is thus extracted, and is placed in a warm place to evaporate until it becomes as thick as honey.
Contents of The Late 19th century List of Medicines and Doses for Adults:
In alphabetical order of medicine:Medicine: Aconite Leaves to Balsam of Copaiba
Medicine: Balsam of Peru to Colchicum Root, Fluid Ext.
Medicine: Colchicum Root, Wine to Iron and Quinine, Citrate
Medicine: Iron, Bromide to Parsley Root, Infusion
Medicine: Pennyroyal, Infusion to Senega Root, Fluid Extract
Medicine: Senna, Decoction to Yellow Root, Decoction
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