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Few pictures of human suffering have so stirred up the pity and despair of the physician and demonstrated a single shortcoming of therapeutics as have obstinate attacks of bronchial asthma. What a boon to both patient and doctor would be a drug to relieve the spasm of the bronchial muscles! The narcotic agents used for this purpose—morphin and chloral—are not suitable for frequent use and are not ahvays reliable. Potassium iodid is not often efficient. The ordinary antispasmodics are impotent. Inhalation of the smoke of potassium nitrate, stramonium, etc., often fail to bring relief and are detrimental because they irritate the bronchial mucous membrane. Amyl nitrite and nitroglyeerin often give some relief, but their effect is fugacious.
I recently attended a patient who had been afflicted with asthma for forty-six years. His last attack was complicated with a coryza and trachitis and a very severe laryngitis. I treated the combined
BARNES GE. SODIUM NITRITE IN BRONCHIAL ASTHMA. JAMA. 1909;LIII(25):2098–2099. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.92550250001001o
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