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May 21, 1949

ESSENTIAL HYPERTENSIONLaboratory Studies in Human Beings with Drugs Recently Introduced

JAMA. 1949;140(3):261-265. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02900380001001

The urgent need for satisfactory medicinal therapy in essential hypertension has led to the investigation of a wide variety of pharmacologic agents. In this clinic, particular emphasis has been laid on the elucidation of the mode of action of the various drugs employed, in the hope of providing a rational basis for the chemotherapy of the disease.

Of the preparations tried in this clinic,1 two have appeared to be of sufficient practical value to warrant detailed study. These are veratrum viride, the administration of which leads to generalized but integrated vasodilatation, and dihydroergocornine, which inhibits sympathetic vasoconstriction. Effective by mouth, and adequately lasting in action, both are suitable for long term clinical trial. Unfortunately, administration of veratrum often leads to nausea and vomiting, and occasionally to collapse, especially when dosage is not carefully controlled. Therefore, its clinical use frequently is restricted to patients with severe hypertension in whom the

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