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December 10, 1938


Author Affiliations


From the Laboratory of Pharmacology, University of Michigan Medical School.

JAMA. 1938;111(24):2201-2209. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.72790500006010

The recent discovery of a new and pharmacologically potent alkaloid of ergot has aroused considerable interest both in purely scientific and in clinical circles. Certain factors which have stimulated such interest are as follows: It is characterized by a number of physical, chemical and pharmacologic properties which differ decidedly from those of the previously known alkaloids of ergot, all of which show considerable similarity. Although hitherto unrecognized, it apparently plays an important role in the clinical oxytocic activity of those preparations of ergot which contain it and in the purified form is proving itself to be a valuable drug in the practice of obstetrics. Furthermore, the closely consecutive publications of its discovery from various laboratories naturally initiated discussion regarding priority.

As sufficient time has elapsed since the first announcements for general agreement on the properties of the alkaloid and for some indication of its therapeutic application, it is possible to

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