This opium-based medication is available only by prescription in New York, Connecticut, and some other states. It is a traditional patent medicine known for its antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic properties.
It is also used for treating pain, as a cough suppressant and expectorant, and to calm fretful children. It can be taken by mouth or injected into the muscle.
Addicts prepare the drug by boiling it down before injection. They then mix it with other drugs, including pyribenzamine and tripelennamine. This combination adds to the danger of high blood pressure that can lead to pulmonary granuloma and pulmonary hypertension (CDC [Dowell 2016]; Dow 2012).
Detailed habituation information was obtained from 21 patients at the Detroit General Hospital who were admitted during the last nine months. All of them had been injecting paregoric for at least a year, and ten of them had used it for two years or more.
The average dosage was about 1-7 ounces a day, with as much as 30 ounces employed occasionally. The preferred site of injection was the jugular vein, which is large and accessible.
Infective complications included homologuus serum hepatitis, septicemia, abscesses and cellulitis at injection sites (submandibular, region neck, leg or groin). Other infective manifestations were purulent meningitis, brain abscess, septic arthritis pyopneumothorax, and bacterial endocarditis.
Pregnancy should be avoided with this medication. The alcohol content may raise the chance of birth defects, poor fetal growth, stillbirth, and preterm delivery in pregnant women who are using paregoric. If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, tell your doctor about this medication.