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Heart Drug Digoxin Tied to Higher Death Risk for Some Patients
Date:11/28/2012

actions when starting new medications, and monitor digoxin levels," the authors said "Patients should be aware of potential toxicity and see their physicians immediately in specific clinical situations, for instance if they experience palpitations or syncope (fainting), as those may precede arrhythmic death," they added.

The mechanism by which digoxin increased the risk of death in atrial fibrillation patients is unclear. And while the study noted an association between digoxin use and increased death risk in these patients, it could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

"Deaths from classic cardiovascular causes, whether due to arrhythmia or not, can partly but not entirely explain [the relationship]," Elayi and his colleagues wrote. "This suggests there must be some additional mechanism that remains to be identified."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about atrial fibrillation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: European Heart Journal, news release, Nov. 28, 2012


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