Any therapeutic agent that has been the subject of as much controversy as has quinidine deserves frequent reevaluation. That its use is controversial is not surprising, since it is a relatively new drug compared with, for example, digitalis. Despite the fact that digitalis has been used in cardiac conditions for more than 165 years, there still is not complete agreement as to its use and method of application.
From today's vantage point, one can say that quinidine fell into disrepute after its introduction in the treatment of heart disease by Frey,1 in 1918, because of limited knowledge of its pharmacological properties and lack of individualized application—two factors that are still operative in the abuse of the drug. In that early period of disfavor, the use of quinidine in cardiac conditions was considered so perilous that one clinician advised that any physician who contemplated administering the drug should warn his