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Digitalis

heart cardiotonic fluid

Digitalis, drug prepared from leaves of the foxglove plant (genus Digitalis). Its main effect is cardiotonic, causing the heart muscle to pump more forcefully and effectively, thereby improving the circulation of the blood and promoting the normal elimination of excess fluid. Digitalis is often used to treat heart failure because it can relieve one of the early effects of the condition—buildup of fluid in the body tissues. Digitalis and its derivates (digitoxin and digoxin) are the most frequently used cardiotonic drugs; other examples are ouabain and strophanthus.

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