The seventh edition of Squire’s Companion was published in 1899, and since that time a great advance has been made in the testing of drugs and chemicals used in medicine; a very large number of new synthetic products have also been introduced. Several foreign pharmacopoeias have issued new editions, viz., Austrian, Belgian, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss and United States; the Japanese is a new Pharmacopoeia.
To bring Squire’s Companion up to date and to make it conform to modern requirements, it has been necessary to practically rewrite it from cover to cover. The general arrangement of the book remains the same as before. Substances which are official in the British Pharmacopoeia have the names in larger type than those which are, not official and the same distinction also applies to the preparations, it is therefore quite easy to see at a glance whether any particular substance or preparation is official or not. This is, moreover, supplemented by a list of ‘official’ and ‘not official’ preparations given under each substance immediately following the dose, so that a prescriber can quickly ascertain the various forms in which any medicament can be given. Following the precedent of the previous editions, the formulas are given in parts, solids by weight, liquids by measure, and where it has been necessary to depart from this course, it is stated in the text. In dealing with German and other continental pharmacopoeias, it must be understood that parts refer to parts by weight. The arrangement of the matter and the headings to the several paragraphs, which have always been the distinctive feature of the Companion have been retained ‘solubility, ‘Medicinal properties,’ dose,’ ‘prescribing notes,’ ‘incompatibles,’ list of ‘official preparations,’ ‘antidotes’ and ‘foreign pharmacopoeias,’ this arrangement having been found very convenient to those who use the work as a book of reference. The term ‘Medicinal Properties,’ although very old-fashioned, has been retained in order to keep the plan of the book uniform with previous editions; this portion has been carefully read and corrected by Dr. Taylor Grant.
The ‘Descriptive Notes’ have been written specially for this book by Mr. E.M. Holmes; they deal with the principal distinguishing features of the vegetable drugs, the commercial qualities, and the probable contaminations and sophistications. He has also assisted in the revision of the organic materia medica.