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August 1922


Author Affiliations


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

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1922;30(2):133-157. doi:10.1001/archinte.1922.00110080003001

Different samples of digitalis vary widely in their therapeutic effectiveness when given orally to man, and the development of biologic methods for the assay of digitalis shows that different specimens of the drug also vary greatly in activity on the animal heart, the most active being at least three times as potent as the weakest specimen. This wide divergence in activity was believed to account for the observed variability in the therapeutic efficiency of the drug, and it was hoped that the general adoption of one or another method of biologic assay would eliminate the uncertainty of therapeutic effects. While this has not been accomplished, it is now unusual for the therapeutist to find a very weak specimen of digitalis, and it is exceptional for the most active specimen to exceed the weakest by more than 50 per cent. The average high grade digitalis of the present time is generally

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