Last year in the pharmacologic laboratory of the University of Michigan we undertook an examination of various preparations of such drugs as were suitable for physiologic assay. The object of the examination was to ascertain the relative strength of such medicines when prepared by different manufacturers, some of whom assayed their products physiologically while others relied entirely for an active product on their efforts to purchase the best crude drugs on the market.
The examinations naturally began with the heart tonics, digitalis and strophanthus, because of their great importance and also because there exists a good method by which they can be assayed. The results1 showed that various preparations of the tincture of digitalis varied in strength in the ratio of 1 to 4, that is, some were one-quarter the strength of others, with still others representing all intermediate gradations, while tinctures of strophanthus showed practically the same variations.
EDMUNDS CW, ROTH GB. PHYSIOLOGIC ASSAY OF NITROGLYCERIN TABLETS, DIGITALIN TABLETS AND FLUIDEXTRACT OF ERGOT. JAMA. 1908;LI(25):2130–2135. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25410250030001f
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