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Higher Death Rate Noted Among Digoxin Users, New Study Finds

Sep 26, 2013

New research suggests that patients suffering from heart failure who take the prescription drug digoxin (sold under the brand name Lanoxin) actually face a greater risk of death than those who avoid the drug.

According to a report on, a new study has debuted on the website of the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Northern California were able to single out patients with systolic heart failure who were not treating it with digoxin.

After studying these patients for more than two years, the study authors found that patients diagnosed with heart failure who did ingest digoxin had raised their risk of death by 72 percent compared with those not prescribed the drug.

The study authors also noted that the rate for hospitalization was the same for those taking digoxin versus those not taking it. There were no differences in the mortality rate among men and women taking digoxin, the study also found. Also, the use of beta-blocker drugs did not impact the death rate among those on digoxin. notes that digoxin is an injectable drug commonly prescribed to patients suffering with mild or moderate heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. says that since 1997, nearly 10,000 reports linked digoxin use to serious side effects, some of which were life-threatening. In that time, there have been more than 2,700 deaths in which digoxin use was identified as the main cause of death.

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