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September 1, 1951


JAMA. 1951;147(1):64. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670180070019

The success of heparin in the treatment of frostbite1 and the value of initiating such treatment in the field before hospitalization of soldiers led Litwins2 and associates of Beth Israel Hospital, New York City, to test the possibility of sublingual administration of this drug. Wafers containing 125 mg. of sodium heparin were placed in the sublingual pouch of 10 volunteers, where they rapidly disintegrated. Absorption was usually complete in 10 minutes. Periodic determinations of the blood coagulation time showed that in most instances a therapeutically effective prolongation was attained one-half hour after administration of the heparin and maintained for some four hours. The New York clinicians believe from their data that sublingual administration of heparin may in time be recognized as a method of choice for the anticoagulant treatment of myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and thrombophlebitis, and in vascular surgery.