Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heart Med Found to Increase Death in People with Irregular Heartbeat

Cardiac mri ani sagittal bionerdHeather Callaghan
Activist Post

In An Account of the Foxglove and Some of its Medical Uses, published in 1785, Sir William Withering cautioned readers that extracts from the poisonous plant foxglove, also called digitalis, was not a perfect drug.

He wrote:
...Time will fix the real value upon this discovery, and determine whether I have imposed upon myself and others, or contributed to the benefit of science and mankind.
Fast forward 200 years - researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have finally highlighted that caution with the discovery that patients with atrial fibrillation — a rapid and irregular heart rhythm — who are treated with the digitalis-derivative digoxin are more likely to die than similar patients who received different treatments.

Digoxin tied to increased risk of death in patients with atrial fibrillation...

Mintu Turakhia, MD, is the study's lead author and assistant professor of cardiology at Stanford and director of cardiac electrophysiology at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System

He said:
The take-home point is to question whether people should really be on this drug. These data challenge the current guidelines.
Turakhia and his team analyzed records from 122,465 patients (predominantly male) who received a new diagnosis of atrial fibrillation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health-care system between 2003 and 2008.

Doctors prescribed digoxin to 23 percent of the patients, and 70 percent of those patients were still on the drug one year later. Patients treated with digoxin were 1.2 times more likely to die than comparable patients prescribed other therapies.

Patients receiving digoxin were more likely to die regardless of age; use of other drugs such as beta-blockers, amiodarone or warfarin; or the presence of other factors such as kidney disease, heart attack or heart failure.

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