• It is the bicentennial anniversary of the introduction of digitalis into medicine. Digitalis is one of the most important drugs ever discovered, and after two centuries, it is still the most widely used drug in cardiology. However, it was at one time so badly abused that for nearly a century It was almost abandoned. Early In this century, the valuable effects of digitalis were once again recognized and extended. The molecular basis of action has been defined and now methods are available to detect early toxicity. Recent advances in combating toxic effects show considerable promise. Skillful administration of the drug, using purified standard tablets, careful monitoring by clinical electrocardiography, and analytical methods can secure the maximum benefits with the minimum degree of toxicity.
(Arch Surg 111:14-19, 1976)