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March 1, 1930


Author Affiliations

From the Third (New York University) Medical Division of Bellevue Hospital and the Department of Pharmacology of Cornell University Medical College.

JAMA. 1930;94(9):627. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02710350027007

Some time ago a committee1 was formed at Bellevue Hospital for the systematic investigation of the value of digitalis in pneumonia. In the course of the work observations were made bearing on the subject of the potency of digitalis, bringing vividly to attention several points of great practical importance to the physician. A brief summary of these observations on potency is presented in this preliminary communication.2

Several hundred patients were studied and divided into comparable groups of untreated controls and those receiving digitalis. The drug was administered in full dosage by an approved technic; namely, 0.15 cat unit per pound of body weight in twenty-four hours. Two well known commercial specimens of digitalis were employed. The committee at first accepted the potency of both preparations as labeled by the manufacturers, which stated one to be about 50 per cent more potent than the other. This was taken into

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