As is well known, the glucosids in general are comparatively unstable Chemical substances and are easily broken down into a sugar and some other substance. A number of factors are operative in splitting up the glucosidal molecule, but chief among them, especially in the presence of beat, are certain enzymes, the alkalies, and the mineral acids.
In view of the facts it is not at all surprising to find that certain of the digitalis glucosids have been reported to be broken down to a greater or lesser degree, either by the enzymes of the gastric or pancreatic secretion, or by the acids or alkalies added to these enzymes to make them active. Three researches may be noted as specifically showing this deterioration.
In 1896 Deucher observed clincally in cases of heart disease and dropsical conditions that digitalin verum was almost invariably much more potent when given subcutaneously than when given
HALE W. THE EFFECT OF THE DIGESTIVE SECRETIONS ON THE ACTIVITY OF DIGITALIS AND ALLIED DRUGS. JAMA. 1911;LVII(19):1515–1517. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260110015006
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