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May 6, 1950


Author Affiliations

Louisville, Ky.

From the Department of Medicine and the Institute for Medical Research, University of Louisville School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1950;143(1):5-7. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02910360007003

Recent favorable reports of the use of the veratrum alkaloids in essential hypertension suggest the need for revaluation of the drug which had passed into "deserved oblivion."1

In 1946 Hite2 reported the first clinical evaluation of the use of the biologically standardized whole powdered drug. He observed in a series of 30 cases that 60 per cent had a fall of greater than 25 mm. of mercury in systolic pressure and 26.6 per cent a reduction of 20 mm. in diastolic pressure. Daily dosage varied from 15 to 30 Craw units.2a The only reactions noted were vomiting in 1 patient and headache in another. No effect of the drug was noted on occasional electrocardiograms.

More recently, Freis and his associates3 reported extensive studies on the hemodynamic effects and clinical use of veratrum viride in man. In their group of 34 ambulatory hypertensive patients, 30 (88 per