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Chloral Hydrate

It was formerly largely used as a hypnotic, and many fatal consequences

ensued. It is prepared from alcohol and chlorine.

Symptoms.--Deep sleep, loss of muscular power, diminished or abolished

reflex action and sensibility, followed by loss of consciousness and

marked fall of temperature. Pulse may become quick, and face flushed or

livid and bloated. Prolonged use of this drug may produce a peculiar

on on the skin. Supposed to act in the blood by being decomposed

into chloroform and sodium formate. Its effects are due chiefly to

depression of the central nervous system, the medulla being the last

part of the nervous system to be attacked.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--By distillation in strongly

alkaline solutions, when it may be obtained as chloroform and tested as


Treatment.--Stomach-tube or emetic. Hypodermic injections of

strychnine. Keep patient warm, and inject a pint of hot strong coffee

into the rectum. Nitrite of amyl and artificial respiration.

Tests.--Heated with caustic potash, it yields chloroform and potassium

formate. The chloroform is readily recognized by its odour, and, if the

solution be concentrated, by separating as a heavy layer at the bottom

of the test-tube.