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July 15, 1911

THE USE AND ABUSE OF DIGITALIS IN DISEASES OF THE HEART

Author Affiliations

Adjunct Professor of Medicine, New York Post-Graduate Medical School and Hospital; Attending and Visiting Physician to the Philanthropin Hospital and the Home of the Daughters of Jacob NEW YORK

JAMA. 1911;LVII(3):211-212. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260070215011
Abstract

Since William Withering, a Birmingham practitioner, gave his "Account of Foxglove" in 1785, digitalis has been the favorite remedy in diseases of the heart. The great popularity of the drug, however, rendered it subject to abuse as well as to use. It suffered all through these many years and decades and still suffers to-day from misapplianee and insufficient appliance in the very dominion it rules. For example, if precordial pain, palpitation or a murmur is made the basis for prescribing digitalis it is a misapplication of a valuable agent constituting a serious abuse. Or, if digitalis is ordered merely because the patient has "heart disease," the drug, no less than the patient, is grievously abused.

Another form of abuse of digitalis, even though the condition of the heart calls for it, is the withdrawal or discontinuance of the drug as soon as its therapeutic effects become manifest. Let it be

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