American journal of therapeutics

Contemporary indications and therapeutic implications for digoxin use.

PMID 20224322


Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Appropriate medical therapy using angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and beta-blockers improves outcomes in HF, whereas the role of digoxin is still not clearly defined. Digoxin is currently recommended for patients with HF who are symptomatic despite standard therapy and for controlling the ventricular rate in atrial fibrillation. Digoxin is a time-tested drug that accounts for 20 million drug prescriptions annually in the United States. It has favorable hemodynamic effects for patients with HF and atrial tachyarrhythmias. We conducted a systematic literature search for the current indications for digoxin. Despite extensive research and safety data, the literature suggests that digoxin is underused in clinical settings. Citing the literature where available, our review highlights the various clinical settings where digoxin is indicated. Despite difficulties with designing prospective studies in acute HF settings and lack of outcomes data, we believe that digoxin will continue to serve an important role in optimizing care in certain acute and chronic cardiac conditions.

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