Digoxin linked to higher risk of death for those with atrial fibrillation

Lana Bandoim's picture
Digoxin
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A new study has linked digoxin to a higher risk of death in patients who have atrial fibrillation. Digoxin is a popular heart medication that has been used for decades. However, research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicates it may not be the best option for patients with certain heart rhythm problems.

Atrial fibrillation and digoxin

Researchers discovered that patients who were taking digoxin and suffering from atrial fibrillation also had a 20 percent higher risk of dying. They followed 122,000 people in the study to determine that the medication may not be an appropriate treatment for everyone. Researchers recommend that doctors consider other options for these patients.

Alternatives for patients with atrial fibrillation

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Researchers suggest that patients explore the possibility of using beta-blockers instead of digoxin and discuss this treatment option with their doctors. They consider this a safe alternative for people with atrial fibrillation, but all medications have side effects and risks. It is important to explore the alternatives available on the market with the guidance of a medical professional.

Digoxin can still help others

The study does not want to eliminate digoxin completely as a medication for people with heart problems because it has been shown to help those who have heart failure. Some doctors are questioning the results of the current study and would like to see more research focusing on patients with atrial fibrillation. Previous reports have contradicted some of the new findings, so there is room for more studies.

Experts warn heart patients not to stop or start new medications on their own despite their fears. It is crucial that they follow the guidelines set forth by their doctors to safely begin or end a treatment. If they have concerns about digoxin, then they need to discuss them immediately.

Image: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

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