Cocain in Gastralgia
A. C HEWETT, LL. B., M. D.
Mrs. H., a middle aged, well formed and nourished woman, was taken with severe pain in her stomach increasing in severity till it, with nausea, vomiting and retching had reduced her to the verge of collapse. Her extremities were cold, skin shrunken, and face of a gray pallor.
To me it appeared as a severe case of gastralgia. Her idiosyncrasy forbade morphin. The speediest anti-gastrodynia available was cocain, which I had in a 20 per cent solution of ol. caryophyl., echafolta, spec.. cactus gran., and glycerin. Of said solution I dropped ten minims on sugar, dissolved in a wine glass of hot water, and gave it. I, watch in hand, waited ten minutes. Her pain only slightly abated, but vomiting ceased, and a slight color came to lips and cheeks. I repeated the dose and sat to wait another ten minutes. Before that time was measured she drew a deep sigh of relief, and fell "quietly asleep."
At next morning's call I found her needing only good nourishment.
All day (Sabbath 9-20-08) I was plagued with dull pain under my left scapula, and with general nervous twinges "all over." During the ensuing night pains severe developed in my right leg and hip, and by morning I was enduring sciatic torture. I took ten drops, as aforesaid, of said solution of cocain (20 percent) and waited ten minutes. By that time pain had lessened, but I took an additional five drop dose. Soon thereafter pain entirely left me.
Six o'clock p.m. I had slight sciatic pains. Took another ten drop dose, same way as at first prescribed, which gave speedy relief. I ate a light dinner and at nine o'clock p. m. I became sleepy; retired, for an all night's restful sleep; Monday morning I was free from pain, but felt depressed. About noon
I became nervously irritated "all over" and had slight return of sciatic twinges. Another ten drop dose gave immediate surcease of pain and nervousness. A light luncheon, rest, light dinner and a "sound" night's sleep prepared me for business at my office on Tuesday, thankful that I might discharge my patient cured—"pro tem." at least. From former similar attacks of sciatica consequent upon tibial gangrene and necrosis, when treated with hypodermics of morphin, etc., relief from pain had not been as prompt, or complete, nor convalescence as immediate.
If desired I will write more as to safety and advisability of the internal use of that much abused but wonderful product of erythroxylon coca.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.