The administration of a drug to estimate abnormal structure or function of an organ in the body is becoming increasingly common as a diagnostic aid in medicine. Many of the drugs in use for this purpose are administered by a technical assistant and, through popular usage, have come to be looked on merely as playing a role in a laboratory procedure. Drugs so used, therefore, have tended to lose their identity in the minds of physicians as substances capable of inciting specific tissue and cellular activity. Although much has been added to our knowledge of pathologic physiology by their clinical application, their use is not without danger. The use of a chemical in diagnosis is not justifiable if its possible toxicity outweighs the value of the information which may be derived.
For many years clinicians and physiologists have attempted, by the use of certain drugs, to devise means of determining
METTIER SR, LEAKE CD. EVALUATION OF DRUGS COMMONLY EMPLOYED AS DIAGNOSTIC AIDS IN CLINICAL MEDICINE. JAMA. 1938;111(11):986–990. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790370006002
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