Selected writings of John M. Scudder.
When Dr. Scudder wrote upon the action and uses of a drug there could never be any misunderstanding as to his meaning. He knew the indications and he knew how to express them so clearly that none could mistake them. His indications for powerful medicines are so decided, clear, and true that they might well stand as therapeutic classics. Aconite, veratrum, gelsemium, belladonna; who does not admire the distinctness with which he puts their indications? This editorial is a sample of his way of teaching the uses of a drug. Compare it with the hit or miss policy prevalent among those who prescribe for diseases rather than conditions.—Ed. Gleaner.
QUININE.—If there is any medicine that might rival morphine in its mis-uses and abuse that agent is quinine. Not only do physicians mis-use it, but the laity buy it, and use it for all manner of ills.
Again, if it will be remembered that quinine has one specific and certain action, it will not false long to learn to use it with that certainty with which we profess to practice medicine.
We give quinine to cure diseases of a periodic nature, the periodicity being the keynote and the specific indication for its use.
There is, however, one more point to be remembered, if you would prescribe it with certainty: The stomach must be in fair condition to receive it, soft, open pulse, skin moist, and no irrigation of the nervous system.
Under these conditions, quinine acts with certainty, will cure ague and periodic fevers, and, taken at night with whisky, will abort a cold.
Given when the opposite conditions present, harsh, dry skin, irritation of nervous system, the patient will be made worse, disagreeable head symptoms will present, and the irritation of the nervous system will be increased.
Given then a case where distinct periodicity indicates the use of quinine, and there is a bad stomach, dry skin, and irritation of nervous system, give other remedies until these contra-indications are removed, then you may give full doses of quinine with great satisfaction.—SCUDDER, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1893.
The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.