Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 351 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GROUP XVIII. Nitrites.—This group contains amyl nitrite, ethyl nitrite, methyl nitrite, nitroglycerin, sodium and potassium nitrites, erythrol-tetranitrate, and many other compounds containing nitrous or nitric acid. The latter becomes reduced to nitrous in the body, and thereby exercises its characteristic effects. These consist chiefly in an action upon non-striped muscle, vasomotor centres, blood vessels and the blood. When they are given by inhalation or by the mouth their first effect is to produce marked dilatation of the small arteries, with a fall of blood-pressure and a greatly increased rapidity of the heart's action. At the same time the non-striped muscles slightly lose their tonicity, and when very large doses are given the haemoglobin of the blood becomes converted into the chocolate-coloured methaemoglobin. The volatile members of the group act much more rapidly and more transiently than the others.
End of Article: GROUP XVIII

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