For some time after the introduction of sulphonal, so highly appreciated was this new drug as a sedative, that every meeting of the Medico-Psychological Association resolved itself into a choir for singing its praises. It then seemed as if the qualities it possessed were ideal for calming the motor excitement of the insane. It was believed to be without danger, as very large doses had been taken suicidally or by misadventure without any more harm than unconsciousness lasting a day or two. As it was insoluble in ordinary media, it was tasteless, and it could be thus given to resistive patients without their knowledge. This property also made its action less evanescent than that of the other sedatives in use, and this was an advantage in the treatment of chronic excitement. Finally, by skilful dosage, one was able to exercise almost any degree of sedative effect, from the production of slight lethargy to almost complete paralysis. It was possible to tone down the restlessness of the simple maniac so mildly as to make life endurable to others living in the same apartment with him without any discomfort to himself. On the other hand, it was possible to paralyse voluntary movement so completely that the most excited patient became motionless and lay in a semi-stuporose state in bed, with little more than power to breathe and to swallow. If opium be entitled to the name of “the gift of God” in the eyes of orientals, from its power over pain and sensory disorder, eighteen years ago it seemed as just to apply this designation to sulphonal, by virtue of its action on motor excitement.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.