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Author: Subject: Obscure antiquated or household drugs
prof_genius
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[*] posted on 30-7-2014 at 04:12


I brought back a bottle of merbromin from Australia. It is a 2% aqueous solution, and POISON is moulded into the back of the bottle.
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[*] posted on 31-7-2014 at 08:55


Don't be tempted to try nutmeg, not pleasant effects at all, I felt as though I had the cold for a week and it is horrible on your liver.
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Oscilllator
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[*] posted on 1-8-2014 at 02:54


I have personally dug up an old unmarked brown glass bottle with two pills inside from in our yard. The cap is rusted completely on, and there is really no way at all to identify the pills. Our house is actually around 90 years old and because there is quite a lot of stuff in the ground around out house I think it might have been used as a dump before then, so the bottle could be even older than that.



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halogen
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[*] posted on 1-8-2014 at 14:39


Oh dear.

-

So this isn't a waste of a comment, sodium nitroprusside an antique hypotensive agent: never encountered it in person, but a description in a journal article printed 198?, I remember "doubtful it would be allowed/developed as a drug today". Still used today, apparently!

disodium pentacyanonitrosylferrate(2-)

[Edited on 1-8-2014 by halogen]




F. de Lalande and M. Prud'homme showed that a mixture of boric oxide and sodium chloride is decomposed in a stream of dry air or oxygen at a red heat with the evolution of chlorine.
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prof_genius
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[*] posted on 4-8-2014 at 03:25


I recently read about paregoric, it was a camphorated tincture of opium that was used as a cough medicine and was also used to calm small children.
Has anyone seen smelling salts at their local pharmacy?
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Neuro-
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[*] posted on 25-1-2016 at 10:33


Well, going back to nutmeg and other wierd drugs, if somebody ate rye bread with the right type of fungus on it (Claviceps purpurea) you could get ergotism, a nice old fashioned LSD trip called ergotism along with some nice gangrene.
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[*] posted on 25-1-2016 at 12:50


From my collection of old/weird products, the following is the weirdest:
A "pill" to transfer radioactivity to drinking water. Checked with gamma spectrometry it has Ra226...
Size approx. 1 " x 1/4".

fialaB.jpg - 62kB

37fialaB.jpg - 22kB
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[*] posted on 25-1-2016 at 14:14
Cancer, anyone?


"The Radium Water Worked Fine until His Jaw Came Off" (actual headline)

That stuff makes Flint water look tempting.

(By the way, I noticed this was post 1337. W00t!)




As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 26-1-2016 at 08:12


Right Cheddite!

In my country there were no records of terrible deaths by radiation but surely happened, as I also found propaganda from a local laboratory that prepared "medicines" with Ra and Th.
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[*] posted on 26-1-2016 at 15:14


An old bottle of "tonic" might be loaded with laudanum.. that would be a welcome find for winter colds.



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[*] posted on 26-1-2016 at 15:21


Don't forget heroin cough syrup
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halogen
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[*] posted on 26-1-2016 at 16:38



I don't believe the use of mercury as a medicine is obscure, it hasn't been mentioned but a couple times in this thread probably because it is the most obvious, but it sure is a horrifying tale, since Great Paracelsus, with more skill in his pinkie finger than in all the books of antiquity, advocated on the side of minerals, in addition to plant and animal based treatments. One manifestation was the "blue pills" and "blue mass"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_mass

Quote:
“Lincoln’s melancholy never failed to impress any man who ever saw or knew him. The perpetual look of sadness was his most prominent feature. The cause of this peculiar condition was a matter of frequent discussion among his friends. His liver failed to work properly—did not secrete bile—and his bowels were equally as inactive. ‘I used to advise him to take blue-mass pills,’ related Stuart, ‘and he did take them before he went to Washington, and for five months while he was President, but when I came on to Congress he told me had ceased using them because they made him cross.”[4]

Lincoln's use of blue mass may have altered his behavior, and may explain the erratic behavior and violent rages to which he was subject over a period of years prior to the Civil War in the United States. Some historians believe that this explains the contrast between his earlier behavior (while he was perhaps suffering from mercury poisoning from his use of Blue Mass) and his later behavior during the war (after he had stopped taking blue mass), given that most of the effects of mercury poisoning are reversible.[5][6]

There is, however, evidence that Lincoln continued to take blue mass. An interview given by his wife Mary Todd Lincoln to a correspondent from the Pittsburgh Chronicle suggests that Lincoln continued his use of the medication, despite his earlier statements to the contrary. In the interview Mrs. Lincoln described an instance in which her husband’s “usual medicine,” the mercury based “blue pills” made him terribly ill. Mrs. Lincoln “recalled the fact that her husband had been very ill, for several days, from the effects of a dose of blue pills taken shortly before his second inauguration.” She said he was not well, and appearing to require his usual medicine, blue pills, she sent to the drug store in which Harrold was employed last and got a dose and gave them to him at night before going to bed, and that next morning his pallor terrified her. ‘His face,’ said she, pointing to the bed beside which she sat, ‘was white as that pillow-case, as it lay just there,’ she exclaimed, laying her hand on the pillow—‘white, and such a deadly white; as he tried to rise he sank back again quite overcome!’ She described his anxiety to be up, there was so much to do, and her persistence and his oppressive languor in keeping him in bed for several days; said he and she both thought it so strange that the pills should affect him in that way; they never had done so before, and both concluded they would get no more medicine there, as the attendant evidently did not understand making up prescriptions.[7]

[Poor pharmacist just wanted to give the important man an extra strong dose of medicine!]

Unfortunately, since no hair samples from Lincoln during this period are available, it is impossible to determine whether or not he was truly suffering from mercury poisoning while he was taking the blue mass.

Other famous historical figures, such as Ulysses S. Grant, may also have taken blue mass regularly.



[Edited on 27-1-2016 by halogen]




F. de Lalande and M. Prud'homme showed that a mixture of boric oxide and sodium chloride is decomposed in a stream of dry air or oxygen at a red heat with the evolution of chlorine.
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[*] posted on 26-1-2016 at 16:52


Well in addition to Hg(I)Cl being used to treat syphilis they also used arsenic (Salvarsan) which was actually quite effective. Also in terms of metals, antimony used to make you barf.

[Edited on 27-1-2016 by Neuro-]
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chemrox
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[*] posted on 26-1-2016 at 17:25


Quote: Originally posted by Neuro-  
Don't forget heroin cough syrup

or heroin cold tablets!!!




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XeonTheMGPony
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[*] posted on 26-1-2016 at 18:52


Elemental Mercury was all so used for treatment of Ulcers way back when
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[*] posted on 27-1-2016 at 01:41


Here are some home cough remedies from an old book I have

DSC_2242.jpg - 2.1MB DSC_2244.jpg - 2MB DSC_2246.jpg - 1.7MB
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[*] posted on 27-1-2016 at 16:03


Quote: Originally posted by prof_genius  

Has anyone seen smelling salts at their local pharmacy?


The stockroom at work was clearing out some inventory, and I picked up an old-looking first aid kit (I couldn't find a date on it or its contents). It did indeed include some boxes of smelling salts. These came as small glass capsules wrapped in cotton and a fibrous net. These came 10 to a box and were activated by crushing, which breaks the glass capsule and releases the ammonia solution while keeping the glass fragments inside the cotton. They are still quite potent!

box_of_inhalers.jpg - 188kB

inhalers_closeup.jpg - 412kB


Something that I didn't expect, indeed had never heard of, was a box of "aromatic spirits ammonia, N.F." This apparently consisted of 2% ammonia and 62% ethanol, which was to be added to a conveniently included paper cup, diluted with water, and drunk as a 'reflex stimulant' (?!). The bottles of ammonia/alcohol had all dried out, leaving a slight orange residue, so they'll be going to my lab I guess :cool:

drinkin_ammonia.jpg - 159kB
drinkin_ammonia_closeup.jpg - 163kB






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[*] posted on 7-2-2016 at 16:39


Quote: Originally posted by Manifest  
Don't be tempted to try nutmeg, not pleasant effects at all, I felt as though I had the cold for a week and it is horrible on your liver.

well if you overdose that bad!
:o
How much did you eat??
(also, how much did your gastric lavage cost?)




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[*] posted on 28-2-2016 at 18:06


I have seen ampules of Salvarsan (or a similar arsenic compound) years back for sale, bought it for almost nothing.

Years ago I had some small metal cans of ether for anesthesia from Mallinkrodt. Not sure where they ended up.

Calcidrine cough syrup used to contain 1% chloroform as one ingredient.

Old drugs are really interesting to find and think about. The best display I have seen was at the Mutter museum in Philly, they had some wild stuff. www.muttermuseum.org/


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[*] posted on 15-3-2016 at 18:17



lots

pharmakoteka
http://www.ub.edu/pharmakoteka/camps-de-cerca
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chemrox
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[*] posted on 16-3-2016 at 11:28


I used to get cough lozenges that had chloroform and anise
Why is nutmeg hepatoxic?




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[*] posted on 24-4-2016 at 10:42


I have an old empty opium bottle. It's made from ivory and even came with a special metal spoon.

I also have a bottle of mercury(II) chloride, also known as "corrosive sublimate" (gotta love those archaic names), used as a syphilis treatment.
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[*] posted on 24-12-2016 at 19:12


in response to halogen regarding the sodium nitroprusside, is not only still in use in hospitals is one of the first line elections for malignant hypertension.
And is been deemed safe for the last 30-50 years (approx)

In fact we've had patients in the hospital with a 24hr infusion for 5 days without problems (close monitoring required obviously)

I do know that it gets metabolized in cyanide but the doses are in the magnitude of milligrams (with the resulting cyanide being a fraction of that)

interesting clip to de-evilize cyanide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWNpO5vvhpk
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[*] posted on 8-2-2017 at 09:51


Simple home stuff like Oil of Cloves for Tooth Ache. Still available and still works.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2017 at 13:11


They still sell opium tincture in the UK, at least, in england. It isn't particularly common, not all pharmacies carry it. Gee's linctus, its a fairly strongly alcoholic tincture of opium and squill (Scilla maritima, I wouldn't drink too much of the stuff due to this, since in excess squills possess cardiotonic effects similar to the cardiac glycosides IIRC)

I can attest that two or three bottles of the stuff (200ml per) is quite enough without a tolerance, and even with my opioid tolerance, I can still feel that amount (I've been on various pain meds, tried codeine and DHC, which were both crap, the codeine too weak and limited by the maximum conversion to active metabolites by cytochrome P450 enzymes, the DHC worked somewhat, not great but its short action meant I was going through way too many peaks and troughs and ending up withdrawing every day, which blows ass. Currently tolerance is equal to about 1g morphine IV, maybe 1.5, or 750-1g dipropionylmorphine. But the opium tincture is..kinda special, more like poppy pod products than pharmaceutical morphine, there is a huge difference, in that the strychnine-like bioactivity of thebaine and perhaps similar alkaloids of minor quantitative presence within opium give it a unique stimulating property that is not to be found in other morphinan opioids. Bar alpha-chloromorphide, which is just weird stuff.

I was surprised to find that in the occasionally to be found codeine syrup in the UK, there are two kinds, one sugar free which just tastes plain vile. And the other, is flavoured/preserved with CHCl3.

For some really antiquated drugs-sulfonal, trional and tetronal, presumably GABAergic although should not be used for prolonged periods, brief or single use at a time only since they cause a peculiar chemically induced blood dyscrasia with prolonged use, sulfhaemoglobinaemia most likely. These were state of the art in the late 1700s according to some old medical books I have.

AsO3 is still in use today, listed in the BNF, IIRC used for certain cancers. As is the antimony compound sodium stibogluconate, for dealing with certain parasitic infections.

One old remedy suggestion I find particularly amusing from these old books (the name is 'the household physician', late 1700s) is the suggestion to use HNO3 as a wash for piles. Sounds like fun, I don't think. They were still routinely using arsenicals, antimony compounds, Hg and white phosphorus at that time, along with plenty of other rather nasty 'cures'.
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