Opium and its derivatives, notably morphine and codeine, still have a conspicuous place in the therapeutic procedures employed by the physician of today. Among the undesired pharmacodynamic actions of these drugs is their constipating effect, particularly after large doses, which usually has to be taken into account in the management of patients, and frequently must be counteracted. Consequently an adequate understanding of the physiologic functions of the alimentary tract that are adversely affected and the anatomic parts concerned in the perverted behavior is eminently desirable; for on such information alone can one hope to formulate rationally any wholesome remedial measures or precautionary procedures.
It might be assumed that a subject of such fundamental clinical importance would have been adequately studied long ago. There has not been a complete dearth of investigations on the alimentary pharmacology of the opium alkaloids; but the literature of the topic is far from satisfying. This