For the action and use of chloroform as an anaesthetic, see Anaesthesia.
It is also an antiseptic and, in small quantities, a feeble anaesthetic. It is absorbed by the unbroken skin.
The therapeutic applications of the drug are based entirely upon its anaesthetic or anodyne power.
CHLOROFORM (trichlor-methane), CHC1 3, a valuable anaesthetic, a colourless liquid, possessing an agreeable smell and a pleasant taste.
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was at one time believed to act simply by cutting off the supply of oxygen to the tissues, but it also has a specific effect in producing paralysis of certain parts of the central nervous system, and hence its value as an anaesthetic; when given in small amounts mixed with air it produces a condition of exhilaration.
Brucine is a local anaesthetic. Strychnine enters the blood as such, being freely absorbed from mucous surfaces or when given hypodermically.
Externally chloroforrr ‘ is an antiseptic, a local anaesthetic if allowed to evaporate, and a rubefacient, causing the vessels of the skin to dilate, if rubbed in.
The uses of chloroform which fall to be mentioned here are: - as a counter-irritant; as a local anaesthetic for toothache due to caries, it being applied on a cotton wool plug which is inserted into the carious cavity; as an antispasmodic in tetanus and hydrophobia; and as the best and most immediate and effective antidote in cases of strychnine poisoning.
Professor Schafer recommended the use of atropine prior to the administration of a general anaesthetic, in cases where the action of the vagus nerve upon the heart is to be dreaded; and there is little doubt of the value of this precaution, which has no attendant disadvantages, in all such cases.
It is used as an anaesthetic, principally in dentistry, producing when inhaled a condition of hysterical excitement often accompanied by loud laughter, whence it is sometimes called "laughing gas."