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Rules for Avoidance of Dangers,
TABLE OF DROPS IN, AND WEIGHTS OF, A FLUID-DRACHM OF VARIOUS
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Pharmacology, (pharmakon, a drug, logos, a discourse,)—is a general term which properly includes all matters pertaining to the study of medicinal agents in the widest possible sense, embracing all of Materia Medica and Pharmacy, with so much of Therapeutics as relates to drugs. The term is, however, frequently employed in a more restricted sense, including only the physiological action of drugs; a subject to which the title Pharmacodynamics is much more appropriately applied.
Materia Medica is that branch of medical science which treats of the substances used as medicines, their origin, composition, physical characteristics, chemical properties, modes of preparation and administration, physiological and toxicological actions.
PHARMACODYNAMICS, ( pharmakon, a drug, dunamis, power,)—is the proper title for that portion of the Materia Medica which relates to the physiological action of drugs, that is, the influence of drugs upon the healthy human body to modify its physiological activity.
TOXICOLOGY is another subdivision, and includes the effects of drugs when administered in poisonous doses, together with the study of the drug-antagonists for the most dangerous symptoms produced, and the appropriate chemical antidotes.
Pharmacy is the art of preparing medicines for use and dispensing them on the order of the therapeutist. It includes a knowledge of the Materia Medica, an acquaintance with the theories and manipulations of chemistry, and an intimate practical knowledge of many special operations peculiar to itself.
Therapeutics, (therapeuein, to attend upon,)-includes all that relates to the science and art of healing; and embraces the application, not only of medicines to the alleviation or cure of disease, but of all other agents which may aid in the accomplishment of the same result.
The operations of Nature herself, as well as of the substances described in the Materia Medica, and those of all other remedial measures, as food, climate, clothing, heat, cold, electricity, etc., are all embraced in a general term Therapeutics, which may be divided into two grand divisions, viz. :—
NATURAL THERAPEUTICS, including the operations of the Vis Medicatrix Naturæ,the modes and processes of healing which occur independently of Art, for the spontaneous decline and cure of disease. There is no more completely established dogma in science, than that—The Living Organism is in itself adequate to the cure of all its curable disorders. This Natural Law enables the homoeopath to relate his sugar cures, aids the medical skeptic to hold to his infidelity, and helps all physicians out of more close places than most of them are willing to acknowledge before their clientèle. This part of the subject is not taught in the schools except in connection with pathology, and by the chair of Theory and Practice of Medicine. It is deserving of a special chair and of more systematic treatment than it receives.
APPLIED THERAPEUTICS embraces the application by Art of agents foreign to the living organism, for the purpose of aiding Nature to restore the body to a healthy condition. This division is the portion of the subject which is taught separately and systematically in the schools, and therefore is alone considered in the following pages.
Other divisions of the general subject of Therapeutics employed in professional literature and conversation are those entitled "Empirical" and "Rational Therapeutics."
EMPIRICAL THERAPEUTICS is a term applied to the use of medicinal or other therapeutical agents for the sole reason that they have been tried previously with successful results in cases apparently identical with the one under treatment. By those who advocate this method it is styled the Therapeutics of Experience, and claimed to be an accumulation of means of combating disease simply by observation and experiment, independently of physio-pathological reasoning (Hartshorne). It was necessarily the original method in Therapeutics, has conferred many rich gifts upon. medical science, and has been advocated by many great physicians, its latest and ablest expounder being the eminent and lamented Niemeyer.
The use of Opium to relieve pain,-that of Cinchona for malarial fevers,-of Colchicum in gout,-of Potassium Iodide in syphilis,-of the Bromides in epilepsy,-of Cod-liver Oil in phthisis,-are examples of the empirical use of remedies. But, after all has been said for it that can be said, the fact remains that it is essentially an unscien tific method, a mere elaboration of the prevailing popular habit of recommending Mrs. A. to use pepper tea, because it cured Mrs. B. of "the very same trouble." Permitted to reign supreme it would be destructive to all exactness in therapeutical progress. The socalled "experience" of one observer is too often overbalanced by the experience of another equally competent and trustworthy; and as few are encouraged to record their failures with remedies, there can be no scientific comparison of the failures with the reported successes. For this reason empirical methods would tend to a minimum degree of accuracy in a science which, in the very nature of things, can never be an exact one;-though undoubtedly such methods will always prevail to some extent.
RATIONAL THERAPEUTICS embraces the use of remedies for reasons based on a knowledge (1) of the pathological conditions present in the subject, and (2) of the physiological action of the agent employed. This method is the very antithesis of empiricism, and has been the leading. idea in every revolt against empirical therapeutics in the past. Humoralism, Chemicism, Solidism, Stimulism, Galenism in the 2d century, Paracelcism in the 16th, and Hahnemannism in the 19th, all originated in efforts to find a more rational system of administering medicines than the prevailing empiricism of the day.
The illustrious Albrecht von Haller, the father of Physiology and the author of the doctrine of Irritability, was the real originator of modern physiological therapeutics. In the preface to his Swiss Pharmacopoeia (circa A. D. 1755), occur the following remarkable directions,-the first recorded of their kind ::
"Nempe primum in corpore sano medela tentanda est, sine peregrina ulla miscela: odoreque et sapore ejus exploratis, exigua illius dosis ingerenda et ad omnes quæ inde contingunt affectiones, quis pulsus, quis calor, quæ respiratio, quænam excretiones, attendendum. Inde adductum phenominórum in sano obviorum, transeas ad experimenta in corpore ægroto."