Digoxin is a purified cardiac glycoside similar to digitoxin extracted from the foxglove plant, Digitalis lanata. Digoxin is occasionally used in the treatment of various heart conditions, namely atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and sometimes heart failure that cannot be controlled by other medication.
The most common indications for digoxin are atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter with rapid ventricular response, though beta blockers and/or calcium channel blockers are a better first choice. High ventricular rate leads to insufficient diastolic filling time. By slowing down the conduction in the AV node and increasing its refractory period, digoxin can reduce the ventricular rate. The arrhythmia itself is not affected, but the pumping function of the heart improves, owing to improved filling.
- Hollman A (1996). “Digoxin comes from Digitalis lanata”. British Medical Journal 312 (7035): 912. doi:10.1136/bmj.312.7035.912.
- Vamos, M; Erath, JW; Hohnloser, SH (4 May 2015). “Digoxin-associated mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature”. European Heart Journal 36 (28): 1831–8. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehv143. PMID 25939649.