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It is unnecessary to call attention to the great therapeutic importance of the heart tonics since digitalis, strophanthus and others of the group are now universally employed by physicians in their daily practice. It is my purpose to point out some of the dangers attending the administration of these drugs, and to offer some suggestions in regard to the selection of the crude drug and the processes of manufacture, in order that the danger may be as far as possible circumscribed.
We are not generally accustomed to think of the heart tonics as being the most poisonous remedies employed in therapeutics; yet it is true. According to some of the best authorities the maximum dose of extract of digitalis is about one-half as great as the maximum dose of extract of belladonna; while strophanthin, the active principle of strophanthus, is three times as poisonous as atropin, ten times as poisonous
HOUGHTON EM. THE PHARMACOLOGIC ASSAY OF THE HEART TONICS. JAMA. 1898;XXXI(17):959–961. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.92450170013002a
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