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November 27, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(22):1918-1919. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580220058024

Science has often cherished the hope of finding specific stimulants for the individual glands or organ functions. In the days when the now discarded expression "biliousness" was popular, great expectations were awakened by the possibility of finding a cholagogue which might in some way promote the physiologic activities of the liver. Indeed, cholagogic potencies were at one time ascribed to a number of familiar drugs, and actually received the endorsement of serious investigators. It was later demonstrated, however, that the evidence regarding the promoting effect of the selected substances on biliary secretion was either not valid when observations were extended over a sufficiently long period, or they were misleading in that the drug merely produced muscular effects along the biliary tract so that a more immediate discharge of bile simulated an increased secretion in the sense of new production. Thus far, bile alone has proved to be a true cholagogue.

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