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article source: The Therapeutic Gazette, 1899


parotid gland, image source, wiki
Any consideration of the subject of organotherapy in gynecology would not be complete without reference to the results obtained from the administration of the desiccated powders of the parotid and mammary glands, or of the extracts of these glands, with which I have had no experience. These drugs have been employed by others with much satisfaction in the disorders and cachexias that seem to be consequent upon the presence of fibroid tumor of the uterus and certain chronic ovarian diseases. The credit of having brought the subject to the attention of the profession must be attributed to Dr. Robert Bell, of Glasgow, and Dr. John B. Shober, of Philadelphia.

As early as 1896, 1 Bell stated that it would appear that the parotid gland exerts a most powerful influence upon the ovaries, and that when disease exists in these organs it can be brought under subjection by the administration of the parotid glands of healthy young sheep, calves, and pigs. He further stated that it was beyond dispute that uterine fibromata, as well as hyperplasia and flaccidity of the uterus, can be most beneficially affected by the employment of the mammary glands of healthy animals. This, he said, is also true of certain diseases of the ovaries.

This form of treatment of ovarian, tubal, and uterine disease was suggested to him by the physiologic relationship which exists between these organs, as shown by mammary enlargement in pregnancy and metastasis from the parotid gland to the ovary in mumps. The effect of parotid gland upon a diseased ovary is so pronounced, especially if the uterine affection be simultaneously treated by ichthyol or other appropriate remedy, that it would be wrong, in his opinion, not to employ this remedy before resorting to operation.

In the Scottish Medical and Surgical Journal for July, 1897, Bell states that during the past two years he has obtained most favorable results in over sixty cases of enlarged and painful
ovaries which would certainly at one time have warranted oophorectomy. At the time of writing these women were not only perfectly well and free from pain, but also remained in possession of their ovaries. He also reported interesting cases of uterine fibromata, and uterine hemorrhages, that were either cured or remarkably benefited by the use of the elixirs of the parotid and mammary glands administered in drachm doses three times daily, or by the use of three five-grain palatinoids of the desiccated glands.

Bell reports that in cases of uterine hyperplasia there can be but little doubt that mammary gland administered in from five- to ten-grain doses three times a day has acted in a marvelously short time in promoting a speedy return to the normal condition.

  Menorrhagia and metrorrhagia, frequently accompanied by dysmenorrhea, have completely disappeared in the course of a few weeks, and when local treatment has simultaneously been adopted the recovery has been proportionately rapid.

John B. Shober,2 reports four cases of fibroid tumor of the uterus treated with mammary gland, and four cases of ovarian disease treated with parotid gland, with excellent results. He found that in the uterine cases — the women all being under the age of thirty - five years, and therefore far removed from the menopausal influence—and without the aid of any other form of treatment, there was a steady and progressive decrease in the size of the tumor, together with a steady improvement of the general health. Under the influence of the drug menorrhagia and metrorrhagia ceased, and the menstrual periods recurred at regular intervals. He believes that the mammary gland exerts a powerful influence upon the uterine muscle or connective tissue, acting in a manner somewhat similar to ergot, and quite distinct from thyroid extract, which influences especially the epithelial elements of the endometrium.

The mammary gland has never, in Shober's experience, given rise to any of the unpleasant and dangerous constitutional disturbances that often follow the prolonged use of thyroid extract; it acts rather as a tonic than as a depressant to the system. The effect of the drug in checking menorrhagia and metrorrhagia induced him to use it in hemorrhages  not
 dependent upon the presence of fibroids, and in one case of subinvolution after labor. The results were very gratifying. He employs the desiccated powder of the sheep's mammary gland, each grain of which is equivalent to ten grains of the fresh gland. Two grains (twenty grains of the fresh gland) is made into a tablet together with three grains of excipient, and from three to four tablets are exhibited daily. In larger doses cramp-like uterine contractions are produced. Positive results may be expected in from six to eight weeks.
Shober has used parotid gland only in cases of ovaritis, in enlarged, congested, and exquisitely tender ovaries, and in cases of ovarian neuralgia and ovarian dysmenorrhea. The desiccated powder is used in the same dose and form as the mammary gland. The results he obtained by this course of treatment in selected cases were most gratifying.

1 International Medical Journal, July, 1896, pp. 379-386; British Gynecological Journal, 1896-97, xii, pp. 157-170; Lancet, 1896, vol. i, p. 1496.

2 American Journal of Obstetrics, Volume 38, No. 3, 1898; Medical News, August 27,  1898; American Journal of Obstetrics, Volume 39, No. 2, 1899

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