It has been shown that alcohol present in the tincture of digitalis delays the absorption of the active principles when this preparation is injected subcutaneously into guinea-pigs.1 It seemed possible that the same delay in absorption might occur when the tincture was given orally, and this possibility is strengthened by the observations of Ryan,2 who found that the absorption of strychnin from the stomach was delayed by the presence of alcohol, and those of Sollmann,3 showing that alcohol delays the absorption of phenol from the alimentary tract. This is a point of some practical importance, for the delay in absorption not only delays the beginning of the desired digitalis action, but also allows a longer time for the digestive juices to act on the glucosids, causing, according to Hale,4 more or less destruction of these latter.
Obviously, the most satisfactory way to determine the rate of
HASKELL CC, McCANTS CS, GARDNER FP. THE RATE OF ABSORPTION OF VARIOUS DIGITALIS PREPARATIONS FROM THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1916;XVIII(2):235–243. doi:10.1001/archinte.1916.00080150100005