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September 18, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(12):1032-1033. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580120044019

Clinical evidence sometimes endows drugs with diverse and unexpected properties. In some degree this seems to have been the case with strychnin. Many physicians administer this drug in cardiac emergency, although the pharmacologists have not been able to demonstrate that it increases the output of the heart. It is occasionally true that benefits follow the empiric use of drugs in some cases, although the therapeutic attempt is useless in the majority of them. Doubtless for this reason there is a considerable degree of reserve in the textbooks of pharmacology in condemning any presumably useless practice that has been widespread. Thus, some books state that no essential increase in blood pressure follows the experimental administration of nontoxic doses of strychnin, but admit that, in pathologic conditions attended with abnormally low pressures, beneficial results may possibly follow. The alleged value of strychnin in surgical "shock" has no experimental basis to support it