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September 8, 1934


JAMA. 1934;103(10):749-750. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.72750360002011

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THERAPY OF BARBITURATE POISONING  In barbiturate poisoning the phenomena of excitation, even up to tonic spasms and trismus, are rare. They are present only after relatively small toxic dosage. Recovery is the rule. Heroic administration of sedatives in such cases with excitation may cause death.Usually the patient arrives at the hospital in coma, with the reflexes and pupillary reactions retained or even exaggerated. While the barbital pupil is usually dilated with normal or slightly delayed pupillary reaction (and it is small and reactionless only in extreme cases), the pupil of morphine poisoning is generally small and becomes dilated only shortly before death. A test for barbital in the urine that clinches the diagnosis is made by acidifying it and shaking out with ether, which leaves, on evaporation, large crystals that melt at 190 C.The fatal dose is, in general, from fifteen to thirty times the therapeutic dose. The

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