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ate. Evaporate to dryness and fuse the residue. K 2 CO 3 -f- 2HC 2 H 3 Oj =
2KC 2 H 3 O 2 + H 2 O + CO 2 . Or, if the bicarbonate, which is preferable, is
used, KHCO 3 + HC 2 H 3 O 2 = KC 2 H 3 O 2 + H 2 O + CO 2 .

CHARACTERS. A white powder or crystalline masses of a satiny lustre,
odorless and having a warming saline taste ; very deliquescent. Solubility.
In 0.36 part of water, and 1.9 parts of Alcohol.

IMPURITIES. The carbonate and metallic impurities.

Dose, 5 to 60 gr. ; .30 to 4.00 gm.]

5. POTASSII CITRAS. [Potassium Citrate. K 3 C 6 H 5 O T -f- H,O =


SOURCE. Neutralize Potassium Carbonate with a solution of Citric
Acid, and evaporate to dryness. 3K 2 CO 3 + 2 H 3 C 6 H 5 O 7 = 2K 3 C 6 H 5 O 7 -f-

CHARACTERS. Transparent, prismatic crystals or a white, granular pow-
der, odorless and having a cooling, saline taste. Deliquescent on exposure to
the air. Solubility. In 0.6 part of water ; sparingly in Alcohol.

IMPURITIES. Carbonates, chlorides, and tartrates.

Dose, 5 to 30 gr. ; .30 to 2.00 gm.]


Liquor Potassii Citratis. Solution of Potassium Citrate. Syn-
onym. Mistura Potassii Citratis. Citric Acid, 6 ; Potassium Bicarbon-
ate, 8 ; water to loo. The acid and the bicarbonate are dissolved
separately and the solutions mixed. It contains about 9 per cent, of
anhydrous Potassium Citrate.

Dose, i to 8 fl. dr. ; 4. to 30. c.c.


sium Citrate. Citric Acid, 63 ; Potassium Bicarbonate, 90 ; Sugar, 47.

SOURCE. Powder the ingredients separately, and mix them thoroughly in
a warm mortar. Dry the resulting, uniform paste rapidly, and when it is per-
fectly dry, reduce it to a powder of the desired degree of fineness. H 3 C,,H 6 Oj
+ 3 KHC0 3 + H 2 = K 3 C 8 H 5 7 + 3 CO 2 -f 4 H 2 O.

CHARACTERS. A fine, white powder, odorless, and having a sweetish,
saline taste. Solubility. Completely in water, with effervescence.

Dose, 5 to 60 gr. ; .30 to 4.00 gm.]



External. No action. Being neutral, they are not even

Internal. These are the least irritating to the stomach of
all potassium salts ; being neutral, they have no action on gastric
juice. They circulate as potassium carbonate. Both are more
powerfully diuretic than any other potassium salts, and act by
directly stimulating the renal cells. They are diaphoretic,
especially the citrate ; but neither of them causes a great increase
of the perspiration.. How they produce this effect is not certainly


As neither impairs digestion, they are chiefly used for remote

Blood. They have been largely given for rheumatic fever, but
are now rarely employed. Many believe both salts are of great
value in gout ; if that is so, it is doubtful how they act, for
they do not increase the power of blood plasma to dissolve so-
dium biurate. They are powerfully antiscorbutic ; that is to
say, they prevent scurvy ; but they are not so efficacious as
lemon-juice, lime-juice, and fresh vegetables.

Kidneys. Although in health the diuresis produced by the
potassium citrate and acetate is slight, and the urea and other
solids of the urine are actually decreased, yet clinical experience
points clearly to the fact that both these salts are, in chronic
Bright's disease, powerful diuretics. They are frequenly used
in this disease and in feverish conditions, and also to increase the
amount of urine, and thus to remove pathological fluids in cases
of pleuritic effusion, ascites, etc. Diuretics are best combined,
and the following is a good mixture : Potassium acetate, 20 gr.
[i.2ogm.] ; tincture of squill, 10 m [.6oc.c.] ; spirit of nitrous
ether, 30 m [2.00 c.c.] ; juice of broom, i fl. 3 [4.00 c.c.] ;
water to 8 fl^ [30.00 c.c. ; juice of broom, B. P., is obtained
by bruising fresh broom tops, expressing the juice, adding one-
third part of alcohol and filtering after seven days] .

They render the urine alkaline, and are much employed for


this purpose, having the advantage over other potassium salts
that they do not derange digestion. Not only do they prevent
the precipitation of uric acid, and thus hinder the formation of
uric acid gravel, but they will dissolve small uric acid calculi.
Roberts states that to keep the urine at the alkalinity necessary
for this purpose, 40 to 60 gr. [2.50^0 4.00 gm.] of the acetate
or citrate should be dissolved in four ounces [120. c.c.] of water,
and taken every four hours. If more than this is used, harm is
done ; for an insoluble biurate forms on the surface of the cal-
culus. With many patients it suffices if such a dose in a tumbler
of water be taken at bed-time ; for during the night the acidity
of the urine is highest, as there is no alkaline tide due to meals.
Owing to the depressing action of potassium salts, they should
be used with care in persons suffering from heart disease.

Skin. Both these salts may be used in slight pyrexia, such
as that of a common cold, on account of their diaphoretic

Lungs. These salts, like the carbonates and bicarbonates,
are mild saline expectorants, especially suitable for cases of bron-
chitis with viscid, scanty expectoration, as they increase the
secretion and lessen the viscidity. The iodide is, however, still
more efficacious.

7. POTASSII SULPHAS. [Potassium Sulphate. K 2 SO 4 = 173.88.
SOURCE. Add Potassium Carbonate to Acid Potassium Sulphate, which

is a bye-product of the manufacture of Nitric Acid. K 2 CO 3 -f-2KHSO 4 =
2K a SO 4 +CO,-f-H 2 O.

CHARACTERS. Hard, colorless, transparent, six-sided, rhombic prisms
terminated by pyramids, or a white powder, odorless, and having a somewhat
bitter, saline taste. Solubility. In 9.5 parts of water ; insoluble in Alcohol.

IMPURITIES. Sodium, arsenic, lead, copper, zinc, iron, aluminum, cal-
cium, magnesia and chlorides.

Dose, y z to 4 dr. ; 2. to 15. gm.

8. POTASSII BITARTRAS. Potassium Bitartrate. KH 4 C 4 HO,=
187.67. Synonyms. Acid Potassium Tartrate. Cream of Tartar.

SOURCE. Obtained from crude Tartar (argol) deposited on the sides of
wine casks during the fermentation of grape juice, and purified by boiling
water, filtration through charcoal and crystallization.

CHARACTERS. Colorless or slightly opaque rhombic crystals ; or a fine,
white, somewhat gritty powder, odorless, and having a pleasant, acidulous
taste. Solubility. In 201 parts of water; very sparingly soluble in Alcohol.



IMPURITIES. Calcium tartrate, copper, lead, and iron.
Potassium Bitartrate is contained in Pulvis Jalapae Compositus. ]
Dose, 20 to 60 gr. ; [1.20 to 4.00 gin.] (diuretic and refrigerant) ; j to
4 dr. ; [a. to 15. gm. ;] (purgative).


External. One of these being only slightly acid and the
other neutral, they have none of the external caustic or antacid
properties of other potassium salts.

Internal. Intestines. Both salts are typical hydragogue
saline purges, producing easy, soft, watery motions without
griping. They abstract fluid from the blood, and cause it to be
poured into the intestine. Their mode of action has already
been fully described {see p. 93).

Liver. Potassium sulphate is a moderate cholagogue,
slightly increasing the biliary flow.

Kidney. The bitartrate is diuretic, because a small
amount of it is, in the intestine, converted into a carbonate and
absorbed, and this acts directly on the renal cells. Hence it
renders the urine alkaline. But all the sulphate and most of
the bitartrate is excreted with the faeces, and if, as seems proba-
ble, some is absorbed by the small intestine in the form in which
it is taken, it is excreted again into the colon.


Internal. Intestines. These excellent purgatives are fre-
quently used, especially for habitual sluggishness of the bowels.
A dose should be dissolved in a tumbler of [hot] water, and
sipped during dressing. They may be employed to open the
bowels in cases, such as dropsy or uraemia, in which we wish to
eliminate as much fluid as possible. They should for this pur-
pose be given in a concentrated form, for then a large amount
of fluid will be secreted from the intestine to bring the solution
of the salt to that degree of dilution at which it will act. Com-
pound jalap powder [which contains potassium bitartrate] is also
much used for this class of cases. The sulphate having some
cholagogue action, is to be preferred when it is believed that the
liver is at fault.


Liver. These salts are often given to those who suffer from
gall-stones, although no potassium salts have any power to dis-
solve gall-stones, but the sulphate does good as a cholagogue.

Kidney. The bitartrate is sometimes used as a diuretic in
the same class of cases as the acetate and citrate. A very pleas-
ant drink for feverish patients is Imperial drink. It contains
potassium bitartrate, 60 gr. [4.00 gm.] ; saccharin, i gr. [.06
gm.] ; oil of lemon, 3m [.20 c.c.] ; to a pint [500. c.c.] of
boiling water.

9. POTASSII NITRAS. [Potassium Nitrate. KNO S = 100.92.
Synonyms. Nitre. Saltpetre.

SOURCE. Purified native Saltpetre.

CHARACTERS. Colorless, transparent, six-sided rhombic prisms or a crys-
talline powder, odorless, and having a cooling, saline and pungent taste.
Solubility. In 3.8 parts of water ; very sparingly soluble in Alcohol.

IMPURITIES. Sulphates, chlorides and lime, and the metals.

Potassium Nitrate is used to prepare Argenti Nitras Dilutus.

Dose, 5 to 20 gr. ; .30 to 1.20 gm.


Charta Potassii Nitratis. Potassium Nitrate Paper. Potassium
Nitrate, 200 ; distilled water, 800. Dissolve the Potassium Nitrate in
the Distilled Water. Immerse strips of white, unsized paper in the solu-
tion, and dry them.]


External. Nothing noteworthy.

Internal. Stomach and Intestines. It is liable to cause
nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, symptomatic of the gastritis and
enteritis produced by it.

Blood. Owing to its high diffusion power it quickly passes
into the blood unchanged. External to the body, nitrates pre-
vent the coagulation of the blood, or dissolve the clot if it be
already formed ; but it is not known that they have any effect
on the blood in the body.

Heart. Potassium nitrate is a powerful cardiac depressant,
causing the beats to become feeble and few. Large doses lead
to great weakness, fainting, and death.

Kidneys. Small doses are diuretic from their direct action


on the renal cells, but large ones are liable to inflame the urinary
passages, causing haematuria. The drug is excreted unchanged
in the urine.

Skin. Potassium nitrate is a mild diaphoretic.

[Lungs. Large doses retard respiration and tend to paralyze
unstriped muscular fibre.]


Internal. Blood. On account of its supposed action in
preventing the coagulation of the living blood, it has been used
in rheumatic fever and many inflammatory conditions, but it is
now discarded. Probably, as it is a cardiac depressant, it only
does harm.

Kidneys and Skin. It is sometimes employed as a diuretic
and diaphoretic in febrile conditions, but the acetate and the
citrate are much preferable.

Asthma. [Potassium nitrate is an and -spasmodic for the rea-
son given above.] For the treatment of this [symptom] potas-
sium nitrate paper, in pieces about i^ inches [4. cm.] square,
is lighted, one at a time, and the patient inhales the fumes.
Ringer considers it better to dip the paper also into a solution
of potassium chlorate, and to burn a piece large enough to fill a
whole room with the fumes. This treatment often relieves, and
nitre is a common ingredient of [so-called] asthma powders.

10. POTASSII CHLORAS. [Potassium Chlorate. KClOj=l22.28.

SOURCE. Pass Chlorine into a mixture of Potassium Carbonate and Slaked
Lime ; then treat the result in boiling water and separate the Chlorate by re-
crystallization. K,CO S -f 6Ca(OH ), -f 6C1,=2KC1O, -f sCaCl, -f- CaCO 8 -f

CHARACTERS. Colorless, lustrous monoclinic prisms or plates, or a white
powder, odorless and having a cooling, saline taste. Easily explodes on tritu-
ration with many substances, especially Sugar, Sulphur, Tannic Acid, Metallic
Sulphides, Phosphorus, Charcoal, and Glycerin. Solubility. In 16.7 parts
of water ; insoluble in absolute Alcohol.

IMPURITIES. Calcium chloride and lime.

Dose, 3 to 20 gr. ; .20 to 1.20 gm.]


Trochisci Potassii Chloratis. [Troches of Potassium Chlorate.
Potassium Chlorate, 30; Sugar, 120; Tragacanth, 6 gm. ; Spirit of


Lemon, r c.c. ; water, a sufficient quantity to make 100 troches. Mix
the Sugar with the Tragacanth and the Spirit of Lemon by trituration in
a mortar ; then transfer the mixture to a sheet of paper, and, by means
of a bone spatula, mix with it the Potassium Chlorate, being careful, by
avoiding trituration or pressure, to prevent the mixture from igniting or
exploding. Lastly, with water, form a mass. Each troche contains 5
gr. ; .30gm.]

Dose, i to 6 troches.


External. It is easily decomposed by septic tissues, and the
nascent oxygen given off acts as a stimulant and antiseptic to

Internal. Stomach and Intestines. Small doses have no
effect ; poisonous ones produce symptoms similar to those in-
duced by the nitrate.

Blood. Here also small doses have no effect, but several
cases of poisoning show that in large doses potassium chlorate
disintegrates the red corpuscles, and converts haemoglobin into
methaemoglobin. The altered blood causes the skin to be
cyanotic, it is passed by the urine, which is, therefore, dark-
colored, and contains granular debris, and thus the urine is ex-
actly like that met with in paroxysmal haemoglobinuria.
The liver and spleen are enlarged. There may be jaundice and
haematemesis, and the marrow of the bones becomes very vas-
cular. Nephritis is induced, the tubules are blocked by the
debris of the blood, and so the urine is scanty. Death occurs
from cardiac weakness or uraemia.

As potassium chlorate easily yields up its oxygen, some believe
that it gives off part of its oxygen to the tissues while it is cir-
culating in the blood, but much of it is excreted unchanged in
the urine and other excretions.


This drug is used empirically for stomatitis, tonsillitis, and
pharyngitis of all varieties, either as lozenges, gargle ( i to 50
parts of water or decoction of cinchona), or to be swallowed in
solution, for it is then excreted by the saliva. Its action is there-


fore always local, as it is beneficial [by] virtue of the nascent
oxygen given off from it. It is especially valuable for ulcer-
ative stomatitis. It has been given to women liable to

11. POTASSII PERMANGANAS, see Manganese.


13. POTASSII I ODIDUM.j^ Iodine.

14. POTASSII BROMIDUM, see Bromine.

15. POTASSA SULPHURATA, see Sulphur.

16. POTASSII FERROCYANIDUM. [Potassium Ferrocyanide.
K 4 Fe(CN) 6 -f- 3H 2 O = 421. 76. Synonym. Yellow Prussiate of Potash.

Potassium Ferrocyanide is used to prepare Acidum Hydrocyanicum Di-
lutum, and Potassii Cyanidum ; also as a test for iron, copper and zinc.]

17. POTASSII CYANIDUM. [Potassium Cyanide. KCN = 65.01.
SOURCE. Heat in an iron crucible dried Potassium Ferrocyanide, 8 ; with

Potassium Carbonate, 3 ; until effervescence ceases.

CHARACTERS. White, opaque, amorphous pieces, or a white, granular
powder, odorless when perfectly dry, but in moist air exhales the odor of Hy-
drocyanic Acid. This salt is very poisonous. Solubility. In about 2 parts
of water and sparingly in alcohol.

Dose, -fa to % gr. ; .003 to .015 gm.


Acidum Hydrocyanicum Dilutum. Diluted Hydrocyanic
Acid. HCN [= 26.98. Synonym. Prussic Acid. A liquid com-
pound of 2 per cent., by weight, of absolute Hydrocyanic Acid, and
98 per cent, of water.]

SOURCE. Distil a mixture of Potassium Ferrocyanide, 20 ; Sulphuric
Acid, 8 ; and water, 65, into distilled water. K 4 FeC 8 N, -f- 2H 2 SO 4 = 2K 2 SO 4
-(- H 4 FeC 6 N 6 . On the application of heat the Hydroferrocyanic Acid reacts
with the remaining Potassium Ferrocyanide and Sulphuric Acid, and Hydro-
cyanic Acid distils over. H 4 FeC 6 N 6 -f K 4 FeC 6 N 6 -f HjSO^eHCN-l-
K.jSO^ K 2 Fe(FeC 6 N 6 ). The distillate is diluted with distilled water until
the official strength is obtained. [Diluted Hydrocyanic Acid may also be pre-
pared, extemporaneously, in the following manner : Mix Hydrochloric Acid,
5, with distilled water, 55 ; add Silver Cyanide, 6, and shake the whole to-
gether in a glass-stoppered bottle. When the precipitate has subsided, pour
off the clear liquid.] Scheele's Prussic Acid is a 4 or 5 per cent, solution.

CHARACTERS. A colorless [liquid, of a characteristic odor and taste,
resembling that of bitter almond]. Very unstable ; to preserve it best, it
should be kept in inverted blue-stoppered bottles. Old specimens may be


INCOMPATIBLES. Salts of silver, copper and iron, red mercuric oxide and

IMPURITIES. Sulphuric and hydrochloric acids.

Dose, i to 3 m. ; [.06 to .20 c.c.

Hydrocyanic acid belongs chemically to the Carbon compounds, but on ac-
count of its physiological and therapeutical relationship to Potassium Cyanide
it is considered at this place.]



External. Hydrocyanic acid can pass through the epider-
mis, and then it paralyzes the terminations of the sensory nerves ;
thus it is a local anaesthetic and sedative. It is very
rapidly absorbed from raw surfaces, and may cause poisoning if
applied to them. [Potassium cyanide may possibly give the
same results. It also produces a dermatitis on local application
to the epidermis.]

Internal. Alimentary tract. Hydrocyanic acid is quickly
[and potassium cyanide less rapidly] absorbed by mucous mem-
branes, and has the same anaesthetic and sedative effect on the
mouth and stomach as on the skin. It must always be employed
[well diluted] . A single drop of the pure acid placed inside the
eye of even a moderately large animal will kill it instantly.

Blood. If death takes place almost immediately after the
administration of the drug, all the blood in the body is a bright
arterial tint ; but if death does not occur for some little time
(within half an hour), the blood is of a dark venous color. The
primary transitory reddening of the venous blood is due to the
fact that the haemoglobin in it is oxidized ; we do not know the
cause of this. The subsequent darkening of the arterial blood is
due to the fact that it has lost its oxygen, and contains carbon
[dioxide] gas ; why this should be is not certain, but probably it
depends upon the asphyxia consequent upon the action of hydro-
cyanic acid on the respiratory centre. If blood be shaken up
with [hydrocyanic] acid, after some time oxyhaemoglobin is con-
verted into cyanohsemoglobin, the oxygen being turned out.
[Hydrocyanic] acid added to drawn blood alters the shape of
the red blood-corpuscles. Neither of these actions is seen in


life, for sufficient [hydrocyanic] acid to cause them would kill
before they could take place.

Heart. Large doses cause instantaneous diastolic arrest.
As this is also true if the drug is applied locally, we may con-
clude that large doses paralyze the heart directly. But [hydro-
cyanic] acid acts also on the cardiac centre in the medulla. A
small dose will cause a slowing of the pulse from stimulation of
the vagus centre, and the stoppage from larger doses is due both
to the direct action on the heart and to that on the medulla.

Vaso-motor system. The vaso-motor centre in the medulla is
first briefly stimulated, but soon profoundly paralyzed ; blood-
pressure therefore falls very low.

Respiration. The respiratory centre is paralyzed even more
readily than the cardiac or vaso-motor centres, consequently
the respirations quickly diminish both in force and frequency.
Unless the heart has been instantaneously stopped by a large
dose, asphyxia is the cause of death, and the heart goes on beat-
ing after the respirations have stopped. Occasionally, if the
dose be small, all three centres may be at first very transitorily
stimulated, so that for a few seconds the pulse and respiration
may be increased in frequency, and blood -pressure may rise.

Nervous system. Cerebrum. Medicinal doses of [hydro-
cyanic] acid have no effect on the cerebrum. Toxic doses cause
deep insensibility and coma. In man convulsions are rarely
seen ; in animals they are common. It is probable that the
coma and convulsions are due to the direct effect on the brain,
but they may in part be due to the altered circulation through
it, or the asphyxia.

Peripheral nerves and muscles. In animals dead of [hydro-
cyanic] acid poisoning these are unexcitable. This paralyzing
effect is due to direct action on the nerves and muscles them-
selves, for it does not occur in the peripheral part of a limb if it is
connected with the rest of the body only by its nerve. In this
case, as no blood is circulating through the distal part of the limb,
no [hydrocyanic] acid reaches it ; but if the acid be applied
locally to the severed limb, the nerve and muscles are paralyzed.
This explains the local anaesthetic effect of [hydrocyanic] acid.


Shortly before death the spinal cord is paralyzed. The pupil
is dilated. We do not know of any effect of [hydrocyanic] acid
on the kidneys, nor how it is excreted. It slightly reduces the


External. Lotions of a strength*of about [i to 48] of the
diluted acid in water are valuable for allaying itching due to any
cause. If the skin is abraded they must not be used.

Internal. [Hydrocyanic acid may be administered as the
official diluted acid, oil of bitter almond (3 to 14 per cent, of
acid), bitter almond water, cherry laurel water (B. P.), the fluid
extract, infusion and syrup of wild cherry, and as potassium
cyanide. Reference should be made to each of these.] Small
doses, 2 to 3 minims [. 12 to .20 c.c.] of the diluted acid, are used
for their sedative effect on the nerves of the stomach, to allay
vomiting, and to relieve gastric pain, whatever be their cause,
and often with good effect. A useful way of giving it is in an
effervescent draught. [Since the effect of the remedy is tran-
sient, it should be given at frequent intervals.] It is a common
ingredient of cough mixtures, for by its depressing effect on the
central nervous system it diminishes reflex excitability, and is
consequently most serviceable for a dry, hacking cough by means
of which nothing is expectorated. [The uses of potassium
cyanide are similar to those of hydrocyanic acid.]


Symptoms. With a large dose [of hydrocyanic acid] the symptoms usually
begin in a few seconds ; it is rare for them to be delayed more than two minutes.
The patient is perfectly insensible ; the eyes are fixed and glistening, the pupils
dilated, the limbs flaccid, the skin cold and clammy. The respiration is slow,
deep and convulsive ; the pulse almost imperceptible. [Hydrocyanic acid kills
by respiratory failure, j Post-mortem. There may be an odor of [hydrocyanic]
acid about the body, which is very livid. The fingers are clenched, the jaws
firmly closed and there is froth at the mouth ; the eyes are fixed and glistening
and the pupils dilated. The stomach may be a little reddened ; the blood is
very dark.

Treatment. Wash out the stomach immediately ; [the physician almost


never has the opportunity.] If emetics are available, large doses must be
given promptly, for every moment is important. [Vomiting may be induced
by inserting the finger into the throat. ] Give ether or brandy and -^ gr.
[.0013 gin.] of atropine subcutaneously. Use inhalations of Ammonia and
artificial respiration. [Cold affusions, or alternately hot and cold, may be
available. Antal, from an experience of forty instances of poisoning, believes
that Cobalt nitrate is the best chemical antagonist. A thirty per cent, solu-
tion of hydrogen dioxide may be employed to wash out the stomach. Intra-
venous injections of sodium hyposulphite (producing theoretically the rela-

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