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Abbreviations, though very commonly used by physicians in prescribing, are a source of much annoyance to the compounder, and frequently one of great danger to the patient. Physicians who never knew anything of the Latin grammar, or those who have forgotten its rules, are very apt to use abbreviations to conceal their ignorance of case-endings. Many others use them through sheer laziness, and some from force of habit. The educated and conscientious man will take pride in turning out a full and clear prescription, free from cabalistic letters and all elements of uncertainty. In the appendix will be found a list of the Latin terms used in prescriptions, with the abbreviations in vogue, and the English meaning. Ambiguous contractions may result fatally to the patient, as is readily seen by studying the following list, which gives a few examples of the dangers of careless abbreviation. Acid. Hydroc.—may mean

| Acidum Hydrochloricum,
Acidum Hydrocyanicum.

| Hydrargyrum.
| Aconitum.

Hydras, . J Ammonia. Ammon.

Hydr.

Hydriodas.
| Ammoniacum.

Hydrochloras.
CU Aqua Chlori.

| Hydrocyanas. Ag. Chlor. Aqua Chloroformi.

Sodium Sulpbate.

Sod. Sulph. Sodium Sulphite.
| Aqua Fortis.

Sodium Sulphide.
Chlorine.

Sulphur.
Chlor. Chloral.

Sulph.

Sulphide.
Chloroform:

Sulphate.
Calomel,

| Sulphite, Hyd. Chlor. { Corrosive Sublimate.

s Zinc Phosphate,

Zinci Phos. (Hydrate of Chloral.

: Zinc Phosphide.

Aconit.

S Aconitine.

A9. Fontis. | Might easily be read

Prescription Blanks. After many years' experience in prescribing on blanks furnished by druggists, the writer has come to the conclusion that it is much better for many reasons for the physician to have his own blanks, without the address of any drug-store thereon. These blanks should be furnished with stubs on which to write the prescription at first in rough, afterwards copying it out cleanly on the main blank. A careful prescriber always writes a formula twice before letting it go out of his hands. If he does the first writing on the stub of a book of blanks he will always have a copy of such prescription in his possession, for which he will often be thankful. The blank used by the writer measures 4%2 inches by 372, joined by a perforated edge to a stub 3/4 inches by 372 inches. On the main blank the physician's name and address are printed, together with his office hours, and a place for number and date, also the sign R., and a line for signature. On the stub there are printed the words, Copy of Prescription No. ....... 188.. For ........," and on the back of the main blank occurs the following printed legend in red ink:

ESCRIPTION WRITTEN ON THIS SIDE
OF THE SHEET MUST NOT BE RENEWED
UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATEVER,
WITHOUT MY ORDER.

.........., M.D. These blanks are bound up in books of 100 each, with a flexible morocco cover, from which the book of stubs may be slipped and a fresh book inserted as required. The size is ample for all ordinary requirements, and permits of the book being carried in the breast-pocket.

Renewals. It would be advisable for physicians to always write the words “ Non Renovatum," or some similar direction, on all prescriptions which should not be repeated without their sanction. By so doing they would doubtless cut off a good many renewal charges from the receipts of druggists who would fear the legal consequences of disobeying the mandate. This inconvenience to the drug-seller would be more than compensated for in the protection to the drug-taker, who too frequently carries in his pocket-book a stock of recipes for his various complaints; and in protection to the physician, who by giving up the dispensing of his own medicines has placed it in the power of the druggist to connive at a direct robbery of the just reward of professional skill and knowledge.

It is doubtless a fact familiar to every observer, that the oldtime confidential relations between the professions of physician and pharmacist have almost passed into oblivion. In fact, the tendency of pharmacy now-a-days is towards the position of a mere money-making trade, instead of in the exalted direction of a profession. The indiscriminate renewing of prescriptions, the open sale of quack nostrums and homeopathic pellets, the readiness with which counter-prescribing is indulged in, the insinuations too frequently made over the drug-counter in reflection on physicians, and many other similar practices, have caused the non-combatant profession to regard the average druggist with suspicion. If physicians boldly took the dispensing of medicines more into their own hands many of these evils would soon elimi. nate themselves from the drug-stores. Right here, it may be said that there is nothing unprofessional or derogatory in the dispensing of his own medicines by the physician. In England it has been the universal practice for centuries in all places except the largest cities, and it has only been given up by a part of the medical profession as a matter of convenience, not as a right. The homeopaths fought for the reclamation of this practice as a right belonging to the medical profession, and succeeded in its legal establishment, but not from a worthy motive. They dispense their own medicines in order to cover up the many frauds of which they are daily guilty, and to give them the power of 'administering full doses of powerful drugs in a form which is apparently “homeopathic," with no tell-tale prescription on file in a drug-store to give mute but dangerous evidence against their honesty. In this way they administer several grains of Calomel or eighth-grain doses of Morphine, or correspondingly large quantities of active alkaloids, triturated with sugar of milk, or dissolved, as many of the latter may be, in alcohol. Chemistry, by isolating the active principles of plants, and furnishing them to commerce in the form of soluble salts, has enabled the homeopath to practice this fraudulent method of dispensing drugs, which the innocent and ignorant patient, who believes in the power of the minimum dose, supposes to be infinitesiinal in amount. But the physician of the regular profession is too apt to think that if he adopts a practice which these quacks have appropriated to themselves, he may be classed with them by his professional competitors. Hence, many regular physicians are absolutely afraid to use such drugs as Aconite, Belladonna, Gelsemium, Arnica, Rhus, etc., all of which are official, and most of which are older than homeopathy in medicine; and avoid pocket.cases, drachmvials and triturations, as badges of charlatanism. It is high time that we asserted our independence in all these matters, and made use freely of those means which are recommended by our individual judgments as promotive of the best results to our patients and to ourselves. With a small stock of reliable fluid extracts, such as are manufactured by Parke, Davis & Co., of Detroit, or Dr. Edward R. Squibb, of Brooklyn,-an equally moderate supply of gelatin-coated pills and compressed tablets from the best houses, such as McKesson & Robbins, Schieffelin & Co., Warner & Co., Wyeth & Co., physicians could check-mate the unscrupulous practices of many druggists to a great extent, save their patients many dollars, and retain many a dollar for their own pockets, which under the present system goes to their enemies. The homeopaths understand the money part of the argument well. When their patients' medicine is exhausted, the doctor must be seen for a fresh supply, meaning of course another consultation about symptoms, a change perhaps from Mercurius Dulcis to Mercurius Vivus, and another fee. The expense is nothing, sugar of milk being cheap, and there is no prescription in the patient's pocket-book, to be renewed scores of times (paying toll however every time to the druggist), and finally to be copied by aunts, mothers and friends, as a sovereign remedy for a cough, or a really wonderful receipt in a case of croup.

Filling a Prescription means a combination of operations which requires great care, undivided attention, and a special practical apprenticeship at the dispensing desk. In the following discussion of extemporaneous preparations such hints are incor. porated as are particularly applicable to the compounding of each article under consideration; and they may be prefaced by a few general suggestions which will serve to point out the most approved method of dealing with this important part of the druggist's work.

The prescription should first be slowly read over in a critical spirit, but no word or action of unfavorable criticism should reach the ears or eyes of the messenger. To shrug the shoulders while scanning the items, to laugh or even smile at the phraseology, to question the person offering it as to whom it is for, or what complaint it is given for, are instances of such fagrant treason to the prescriber as would justify his kicking the offender with a copper-toed boot. The compounder has no business whatever with the propriety of the recipe for its purpose. It might have been given as a placebo for reasons eminently wise and judicious; or if not so constituted it has at least been ordered by one who is in possession of facts which the druggist knows nothing about, even if by education and experience he were competent to judge in the matter, which he seldom is. His criticism should be directed only to the dosage and the pharmaceutical compatibility of the ingredients. Even in the latter case he must remember that incompatibles are often prescribed with the view of forming another agent from the chemical reaction produced. If he thinks that there is any mistake, and the drugs ordered are in any degree poisonous, it is his duty to make an excuse for delay to the messenger and at once communicate with the physician. This course, in these days of telephones, is nearly always practicable.

After reading the prescription, it is well to number it and write the label. This gives time for the label to dry, and avoids

the use of blotting paper, which often mars the writing and renders the directions all but illegible.

A clearly defined method should next be decided on by which to compound the prescription. Directions for such plans of procedure will be found in the succeeding pages under the titles of the various preparations. Next, the ingredients should be carefully weighed or measured out, each one being checked off so as to avoid the danger of its being duplicated. In many cases the excipient is not specified, its choice being left to the druggist ; but in all such a note should be made on the prescription to show the article used, in order that in the event of a renewal there may be no difference perceptible. No alteration or addition should ever be made which would in any degree affect the medicinal action of the prescription, or interfere with the obvious intention of the prescriber.

The labelling of the package and the numbering and filing of the prescription are matters of mechanical detail which are best learned at the counter. Various devices for simplifying these operations are in vogue and may be seen in any well-appointed drug-store. Poisonous articles sold by the druggist should always be labelled “Poison," and the transaction entered in a book usually required by law to be kept for that purpose ; but in the case of prescriptions the word “ Poison” should not appear on the package or label unless so directed by the prescriber.

Stock Solutions of the salts most frequently prescribed are kept in many establishments for convenience in dispensing. Those most generally used are the following:

Alum,-Zijss in a quart of distilled water. Of this solution each fluidounce represents 3ss of the salt.

Potassium Bicarbonate,—3j in fŽiv of distilled water; of which Zss contains 3j of the salt.

Potassium Chlorate,- 1 in 24 of distilled water, will not crystallize as the temperature changes.

Potassium Bromide,-1 in 3 of distilled water, makes a very convenient solution for dispensing purposes.

Chloral Hydrate,-1 in i of distilled water: of which each minim contains a grain of chloral. .

Morphine Sulphate,-gr. xvj in 3j of distilled water, with a grain of Salicylic Acid or 3 drops of Carbolic Acid to prevent change. Of this solution, known as Magendie's, each minim contains gr. o of the salt, and mx contain gr. 1. A safer solution is the Liquor Morphiæ Sulphatis of the U. S. P., 1870, which had one grain of the salt in each fluidounce.

Carbolic Acid, -3 in 1 ziv of glycerin, makes a convenient solution which will mix with water in all proportions. mivss represent gr. j of the acid.

Tannic Acid,-3j in 1 ziv of glycerin, dissolved by the aid of a gentle heat. mivss represent gr. j or the acid.

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