On the 27th of October, last year, I was summoned to attend Mrs. E. L. de M., residing temporarily in this city, at No. 24 Rio Street. This lady, who was 24 years old, of lymphatic temperament and feeble constitution, had the appearance of one suffering from prolonged and deep-seated disease.
In 1861, whilst residing in a town of Andalucia, she was attacked by ague, or intermittent fever, which was treated by large doses of Quinine. Although this drug removed the fever in a few days, her general health remained much impaired for some time afterwards. A gastric affection made its appearance, characterized by anorexia; foul taste in the mouth; burning sensation in the stomach; dyspepsia; costiveness; rheumatic pains in different parts of the body; general heat, with partial perspirations during the night, and great lowness of spirits. For the removal of these new symptoms, various means were employed, such as cathartics, Opium, and other so called “mild remedies;” but all were administered in vain; the disease became worse day by day. For a time the patient was treated homoeopathically, without much relief, and was unable to continue the treatment, on account of her removal from that part of the country. After this she became pregnant, and suffered much during gestation, and in her confinement, and was unable to nurse her child.
In the summer of 1862, she placed herself once more under allopathic treatment. Her medical adviser thought her illness was the result of “heat of the blood” (ardor de la sangre), and recommended her to have recourse to the baths of the Guadalquivir; these, however, produced an effect contrary to what was expected, and aggravated the rheumatic pains already mentioned. She then returned to Homoeopathy, and obtained considerable relief. She soon afterwards left for Aranjuez, where she was again attacked by intermittent fever, and was once more treated with massive and repeated doses of Quinine. This remedy removed the ague again, but left the patient in a miserable condition, and suffering from symptoms which I shall mention hereafter. In this deplorable state she came to Madrid, to be treated exclusively on the homoeopathic system.
Pallid skin, with a yellowish tint about the face; general emaciation; eyes dull and sunken, with a dark rim under the lower lids; anguished expression; lips dry and cracked; great heat; the inferior extremities edematous; the borders of the tongue red, the centre white; anorexia; thirst, increased during digestion; dyspepsia; costiveness. The liver and spleen were not over sensitive, but a slight pain was felt, on pressure, in the epigastric and hypochondriac regions. The patient complained much of the stomach, where she felt an intense heat; and was unable to bear any pressure around the waist. The above symptoms were accompanied by sleeplessness; weak and small pulse; aggravations of fever during the night, terminating in copious perspirations. Perspiration came on, also, during the day, when she happened to fall asleep, whilst reclining in her easy chair, wearied by suffering. The patient also suffered from a pertinacious though not very troublesome cough; strong rheumatic pains in different parts, particularly in the upper and lower extremities. The menses were generally profuse, bordering on menorrhagia, appearing always in advance of the ordinary time. The discharge was mixed with leucorrheal and serous matter. Her moral state was lamentable in more than one respect: her spirits were depressed; she was full of fears, and had not strength to walk, or even to nurse her baby, or to hold it in her arms. Her voice was weakened by her constant sufferings, and was hardly audible. Her husband and family were very anxious about her, and feared she would succumb under pulmonary or laryngeal phthisis.
Upon reviewing the symptomatic group above recorded, I felt convinced that I had to deal with one of those medicinal affections, which Hahnemann has described as being more difficult to treat than natural diseases. In fact I had to combat the poisonous effects of Cinchona, taken in immense quantities, during two different attacks of intermittent fever. The state of my patient recalled to my mind the description given by Dr. Nunez of the symptoms produced by the abuse of Cinchona; the symptoms recorded by that physician, and those revealed in the present case are identical.
Having thus established my diagnosis, the selection of the remedy was the next step. Pulsatilla was selected, because it corresponds perfectly with the cause of the disease, and is at the same time the most efficacious antidote to Cinchona. I therefore administered Pulsatilla200 three doses of five globules each, to be taken dissolved in two spoonfuls of water, every second day, an hour and a half before breakfast.
On my third visit, on the 3d of November, I was struck by the progress of her recovery. The rheumatic pains had Almost left her, and all the other symptoms were much mitigated. Her moral condition and her countenance were cheerful. I still continued the Sacch. lact., and did not interfere with the action of the Pulsatilla.
On the 18th her condition was very satisfactory. She had gained strength, and was able to take an afternoon walk. – The languid feelings were replaced by cheerfulness, and she was able to attend to mental and domestic occupations. The intestinal canal recovered its natural vigor, and resumed its daily functions. I continued the same prescription.
On the 28th the menses made their appearance naturally, and she gained flesh gradually; she attended to domestic occupations with pleasure; her appetite, however, became almost voracious, so much so, as to produce suspicions of worms in the intestinal tube, for which I gave her Merc. sol. 200, two doses of four globules each, one dose to be taken immediately, and the other dose three days after.
On the 5th, 13th and 20th of December, I had the pleasure to see that her health was in a normal state; and on the 26th I concluded my attendance, leaving a dose of five globules of Sulph.200, to be taken in eight days from that date, in order to destroy the predisposition to worms. She returned to Aranjuez with her husband and family.
The rapid recovery of the patient in this case, gave great satisfaction to the family. The case from the first was considered hopeless, because of the intensity and long duration of the ailment, and the supposed predisposition to consumption.
The above is one of the numerous cases of drug-poisoning often met within our practice; difficult to treat, and generally fatal; records of the irrational therapeutics of the old school, against which we cannot raise our voices too high.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 04, 1863, page 176-179
|Case of Cinchona-poisoning.
|errors only; interlinks; formatting