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December 22, 1906


Author Affiliations

Instructor in Pharmacology In Cornell University Medical College; Member of the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry of the American Medical Association. NEW YORK CITY.

JAMA. 1906;XLVII(25):2059-2061. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.25210250013001d

The suggestion of this title for a paper was held to imply considerable latitude, since even a single phase of the pharmacologic action of digitalis could not be treated comprehensively in the time allowed to a single paper.

I shall attempt, therefore, only a brief review of the principal actions of the drug with a few remarks on the individual peculiarities of certain pure principles having a digitalis action, together with some observations bearing on the therapeutic use of the crude drug, its preparations and these isolated principles.

The digitalis action is most briefly defined as consisting in the characteristic slowing, followed by systolic stand-still of the frog's heart. As Heinz has said, this does not seem like a happy choice of definition, since it merely states a toxic action without even indicating how it is brought about, but it is useful since almost any drug which produces this effect

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