Opium, and its Preparations
Martindales 24th Edition
Compiled by Ivor Hughes.

Opium (B P., I.P.).
Gum Opium; Raw Opium; Opium Crudum.
Raw Opium; prepared opium; medicinal opium.

The dried or partly dried latex obtained by incision from the unripe capsules of Papaver somniferum (Papaveraceae). It has a strong characteristic  odour and a bitter taste and contains not less than 9.5% of anhydrous morphine;  I.P. specifies not less than 10%. Incompatible with vegetable  astringents, alkaline carbonates, salts of mercury, iron, lead, and zinc.    

Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In all pharmacopoeias examined except Jap. which includes only the standardised powder. The  specified minimum content of standardised powder. The  specified minimum content of anhydrous morphine varies slightly but is usually  9.5 or 10% or, alternatively, 12% calculated on the drug dried at 60�.


Opium is collected principally in Asiatic Turkey, Persia, the  Indian sub-continent, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Bulgaria. The exuded latex is  inspissated, partly by spontaneous evaporation and partly by artificial heat,  and is manipulated to form cakes of uniform composition, variously shaped  according to the country of origin, and known in commerce as Turkish, Persian,  Indian, or European opium. When opium is prescribed, Powdered Opium must be  dispensed.

Powdered Opium (B.P., I.P.). Opium Pulveratum;  Pulvis Opii; Pulvis Opii Standardisatus.
Dose: 30 to 200 mg. (l/2 to 3 grains). Dried powdered opium adjusted to contain 10% of anhydrous morphine:

Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In all pharmacopoeias examined. Jap.,  Mex., and U.S. specify 10 to 10.5% of anhydrous morphine. U.S. includes both a powdered and a granulated form.

Toxic Effects.These are the same as those caused  by morphine but the toxic dose of opium is about ten times as large as that of  morphine and since its absorption is slower the symptoms do not appear so  rapidly. Opium addiction is seldom met with in Great Britain, though it is  common in the East; treatment is the same as for morphine addiction.

Antidotes. As for Morphine and its Salts.

Uses.Opium has a narcotic action which is due mainly to its morphine  content. The other important alkaloids of opium-papaverine, codeine, narcotine,  and thebaine have little or no narcotic action but have stimulant action on the  medulla and spinal cord. Opium acts less rapidly than morphine since it is more  slowly absorbed and the relaxing action of the papaverine and narcotine on  intestinal muscle makes it more constipating than morphine. This effect makes  opium of value in the treatment of diarrhrea and for the relief of intestinal,  biliary and renal colic.

As a diaphoretic, opium is frequently given with ipecacuanha,  particularly as Dover's powder, in the early stages of colds. Camphorated Tincture of Opium is given in combination with expectorants for coughs. For its intestinal action opium is given as Aromatic Powder of Chalk with Opium.  Suppositories of opium with lead have been used to relieve rectal and pelvic pain, and an ointment combining opium with gall is useful for haemorrhoids.  Opium is also employed externally in liniments or lotions but it is doubtful  whether sufficient of the opium alkaloids is absorbed to produce any effect. 

The statement that the external application of opium  preparations is useless is not borne out by experience. A few drops of  Laudanum relieve a severe earache and Lotion of Lead with Opium is  effective in herpes zoster, urticaria, pruritus and hremorrhoids.-].McLaren,  Brit. med. J., i11943, 370.

If 2 grains of morphine are dissolved in 60 minims of oleic  acid, a little on the finger tip dabbed lightly on the affected area in a case  of herpes zoster ophthalmicus wilI give relief in 10 minutes.-D. P. Smith,  Brit. med. J., i/1943, 622.


Enema Opii (B.P.C. 1949).
Opium Enema. Tincture of opium 0'5 to 6% v/v in mucilage of starch. 

Dry Extract of Opium (B.P.C.).Ext. Opii Sicc.;  Extract of Opium; Extractum Opii Aquosum.
A dry aqueous extract adjusted with calcium phosphate to contain 20% of  anhydrous morphine.
Dose:15 to 60 mg. (0.25 to 1 grain). A similar extract is included  in many foreign pharmacopoeias.

Liquid Extract of Opium (B;P.C.).
Ext. Opii Liq.
Dry extract of opium 3.75 g., alcohol (90%) 20 ml., water to 100 ml. It.  contains 0.75% w/v of anhydrous morphine.
Dose: 0.3 to 2 ml (5 to 30 minims).

Linct. Opii Camph. Co. (B.P.C. 1949).

Compound Camphorated Linctus of Opium; Linct. Camph. Co
Camphorated tincture of opium 15.m., syrup of wild cherry 12 m., oxymel of  squill 12 m., chloroform 3/8 m., solution of bordeaux B 5/8 m., tincture of  senega to 60 m.
Dose: 2 to 8 mI. (30 to 120 minims).

Opiate Linctus of Squill (B.P.C.)
Linct. ScilI. Opiat. (B.N.F.); Compound Linctus of Squill; Gee's  Linctus
Equal volumes of camphorated tincture of opium, oxymel of squiIl, and syrup  of tolu. It contains about 1/100 gr. of anhydrous morphine in 60 m.
Dose: 2 to 4 ml. (30 to 60 minims).
Note. Clarification of this linctus can usually be  accomplished by the addition of cetomacrogol. Some batches of honey, however,  yield a preparation which cannot be clarified by this method. Clarified  solutions do not, however, conform to the B.P.C. Supp.description  of this linctus.

Opiate Linctus of Squill for Infants (B.P.C.).
Linct. SciIl. Inf. (B.N.F:.) ; Opiate Linctus for  Infants.

Camphorated tincture of opium 5 m., oxymel of squill 5 m., syrup of tolu 5  m., glycerIn 20 m., syrup to 60m.
Dose: 2 to 4 ml. (30 to 60 minims)

Lin. Opii (B.P.C.1949).
Liniment of Opium.

Equal volumes of tincture of opium and soap liniment. It contains 0.5% w/v of  anhydrous morphine.

Compound Opium and Glycyrrhiza Mixture (U.S.N.F.).
Brown Mixture; Mistura Glycyrrhizre Composita (Chin. P.).

Camphorated opium tincture 12 ml., g1ycyrrhiza fluidextract 12 ml., antimony  potassium tartrate 24 mg, ethyl nitrite spirit
3 ml., glycerin 12 ml., water to 100 ml.
Usual dose: 4 ml. (60 minims).

Mist. Camph. Co. (N.F. 1939).
Camphorated tincture of opium 15 m., strong solution of ammonium acetate 15  m., tincture of ipecacuanha 6 m., potassium nitrate 5 gr., ammonium carbonate  1.5 gr., water to 1/2 fl. oz
Dose: 15 ml. (1/2 fl. oz).

Mist. Opii Acid. (N.W.F. 1947).
Mist. Acid. c. Opio.

Tincture of opium 5 m., dilute hydrochloric acid 10 m., water to � fluid. oz. 
Dose: 15 mI. ( � fluid oz.).

Mist. Opii Camph. Co. (B.N.F.).
Camphorated Opium Compound Mixture; Mist. Camph. Co. Camphorated tincture of  opium 15 m.
ammonium bicarbonate 2 gr., strong solution of ammonium acetate 20m., water  to � fluid oz. It contains about 1/150th gr. of anhydrous morphine in a � fluid  oz.
Dose: 15 mI, ( � fluid oz.).

Opiate Pastilles of Squill (B.P.C.).
Past. Scill. Opiat. Each contains concentrated camphorated tincture of opium 1.1/4. m., liquid extract of squill � . m., purified honey 3. � m., benzoic acid Iftoo gr., cinnamicacid 1.100th gr., and glacial acetic acid 1/3 m.; approximately equivalent to 30 m. of Opiate Linctus of Squill.

Pil. Sap. c. Opio (B.P.C. 1949).
Pills of Soap with Opium; Compound Pills of Soap.

Each contains powdered opium .2/5ths gr. and hard soap 1 1/5 gr., massed with  syrup of liquid glucose.
Dose: l or 2 pills.

Liq. Opii Sed. (B.P.C. 1949)
Sedative Solution of Opium.

A liquid extract of opium adjusted to contain 1% w/v of anhydrous morphine; about 3/10thsgr. in 30 m.
Dose: 0.3 to 2 ml. (5 to 30 minims).


Sirop d'Opium Faible (Fr. P.). Sirop Diacode.

Tincture of opium 1% w/w in syrup. Sirop d'Opium Forte (Fr. P.) has tincture of opium 5% w/w.

Syr. Opii Camph. (B.P.C. 1949).
Camphorated Syrup of Opium; Compound Syrup of Camphor.

Tincture of opium 80 m., camphor 2 gr.,anise oil 2 m., benzoic acid 2 3/4  gr., glacial acetic acid 27 1/2. m., vinegar of ipecacuanha 300 rn., vinegar of squill 300 m., sucrose 7 oz., solution of burnt sugar 30 m., water to 10 fluid.  oz.
Dose: 2 to 4 ml. (30 to 60 minims).

Camphorated Opiunl Tincture (U.S.P.). Paregoric (U.S.P.).

Tincture of opium 4 mI., anise oil 0.4 ml., benzoic acid 400 mg., camphor 400  mg., glycerin 4 ml., diluted alcohol to 100 ml.

Camphorated Tincture of Opium (B.P.). Tinct. Opii  Camph. ;
Compound Tincture of Camphor; Paregoric; Paregoric Elixir; Tinct. Camph, Co. ; Tinctura Opii Benzoica.

Tincture of opium 5 ml, benzoic acid 500 mg., camphor 300 rng., anise oil 0.3  ml., alcohol (60%) to 100 ml. It contains about 1/30th gr. of anhydrous morphine  in 60 m. I.P. is similar. Dose: 2 to 4 ml. (30 to 60 minims). 

Concentrated Camphorated Tincture of Opium (B.P.C,)
Tinct. Opii Camph. Conc. ; Liq. Opii Camph. Conc.

Tincture of opium 40 ml., benzoic acid 4 g., camphor 2.4 g., anise oil  2.4 ml., alcohol (95%) 40 mil:, water to 100 ml. It is about eight times as  strong as Camphorated Tincture of Opium (B;P,).
Dose: 0.25  to 0.5 ml. (4 to 8 minims).

Tinct. OpiiAmmon. (B.P.C; 1949).
Ammoniated Tincture of Opium; Scotch Paregor

Tincture of opium 10 ml., benzoic acid 2 g., anise oil 0.5 ml., dilute  solution of ammonia 20 rnl., alcohol (90%) to 100 ml. It contains 0.1% w/v of  anhydrous morphine.
Dose: 2 to 4 ml. (30 to 60 minims). 

Tinct, Opii Crocata (B.P.C. 1934. Chil. P., Fr. P"  Ger.P., Mex. P., Nor. P., Span. P., Swiss P.)
Tincture of Opium with Saffron; Sydenham's Laudanum.

A tincture prepared from opium, cinnamon, clove, and saffron, and adjusted to  contain 1% w/v (or w/w) of anhydrous morphine.
Dose: 0.3 to  2 ml. (5 to 30 minims).

Tincture of Opium (B.P.).
Tinct. Opii; Laudanum; Tjnctura Thebaica.

Prepared by maceration with water (boiling) and with alcohol adjusted to contain 1% w/v of anhydrous morphine; about 1/3rd gr. in 30 rn.
Dose: 0.3 to 2 ml. (5 to 30 minims).

I.P. and most foreign pharmacopoeias include a tincture of the same  strength or 1% w/w. I.P. allows both 1% w/v and 1%  w/w.

Denstons Pharmacognosy: Opium

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