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More about pinpointed pupils.

Dear Dr. SerVaas,

I read with interest your response about pinpointed pupils caused by addictive drugs [Nov./Dec. '04]. My friend says that the old home remedy for diarrhea, paregoric, contains opium and caused small pupils, too. Is that true?

Doris Brown

Louisville, Kentucky

Your friend is right. Paregoric, also known as camphorated opium tincture, was once a favorite treatment for diarrhea as well as cough. Used infrequently today, and only by prescription, the mixture contains about one percent morphine, with other ingredients including benzoic acid, camphor and anise oil.

Another product of historical interest is laudanum, an alcoholic tincture of opium sometimes sweetened with sugar. Recommended during the 19th century for almost any ailment, it was often used to calm fretful infants and children. Victorian women took the drug to achieve a pale complexion, considered a sign of beauty.

Microcoria is the medical term used to describe persistent smallness of the pupil that may be present at birth or develop over the years. The rare condition tends to run in families and is not associated with drug abuse.
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Title Annotation:MEDICAL MAILBOX
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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