- In a meta-analyis, German researchers found that digoxin-treated patients faced a 21% increased risk of death from any cause. Digoxin is intended to be used in patients with mild-to-moderate heart failure.
- Patients with atrial fibrillation had a 29% increased risk of premature death if they took digoxin.
- Overall, digoxin treatment was associated with a 14% increase in risk of death.
Given its indications, it is not unexpected that digoxin-treated patients face an increased risk of premature death compared to other patients. However, patients with atrial fibrillation face a significantly increased risk of premature risk, and this has led many researchers and treating practitioners to take a cautious stance with respect to use of digoxin.
The analysis, which was published on May 5 in the European Heart Journal, included more than 325,000 patients and has increased the interest in designing new clinical studies to look at the effect of digoxin in patients with AF. Fortunately, there are other treatment options for patients with AF, so treatment with digoxin is often not necessary. More research is needed to understand the correlation between AF, digoxin and increased risk of death.