According to Sir Thomas Fraser nothing else can compete with alcohol as a food in desperate febrile cases, and to this use must be added its antipyretic power already explained and its action as a soporific. During its administration in febrile cases the drug must be most carefully watched, as its action may prove deleterious to the nervous system and the circulation in certain classes of patient.
It has been used with success as an antiperiodic and antipyretic in ague, and also as a diuretic in gout and kidney affections.
The acid and its salts are antipyretic and were used in Germany instead of salicylates in rheumatic fever.
The introduction of the clinical thermometer, which allows us to ascertain exactly the amount to which the temperature rises in fever or to which it is reduced by antipyretic measures, is to the physician like the compass to the sailor, and allows him to steer safely between two extremes.
Most of these belong to the aromatic group of bodies, although one of them, antipyrin, belongs rather to the furfurol group. Carbolic acid has an antipyretic action, but on account of its poisonous properties it cannot be employed as an antipyretic. Salicylic acid has a strong antipyretic action, and is most commonly used in the form of its sodium salt, which is much more soluble than the acid itself.