New Study Suggests Increased Risk to Heart Patients Taking Digoxin Medication

There's more bad news in this morning's headlines for people suffering heart problems.  According to a new study in the European Heart Journal, as reported by CBS News, the heart medication digoxin has caused increased deaths in atrial fibrillation patients.  In a group of already high risk patients, a potentially faulty treatment could mean a death sentence for some.

The Dangers of Atrial Fibrillation

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate that approximately 3 million people in America suffer from atrial fibrillation and as many as 12 million people could develop this heart condition by 2050. These patients suffer from an abnormal heart condition which causes irregular heart beats and puts affected patients at risk for blood clots and strokes.

Risk factors for atrial fibrillation include:
  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • diabetes
  • hyperthyroidism
  • old age
  • congenital heart disease
  • heart defects
Patients seeking to control their atrial fibrillation have multiple options available to them.  Patients can take medication to strengthen the heart beat and try to normalize the rythym, take blood thinner medication to prevent blood clots, have surgery, or make serious lifestyle changes like losing weight and lowering blood pressure.  But unfortunately, the CDC reports the rate of death has been increasing for the past two decades.

The Digoxin Study Cites Increased Death Rates

In a study spanning over 3 years, researchers studied atrial fibrillation patients who took digoxin and compared how they did following treatment, including an examination of death certificates.  What they found was a 41% increase in deaths among patients taking digoxin.  These patients experienced a 35% increase in cardiovascular deaths, and 61% increase in deaths from specific heart beat related problems like arrhythmia.

If these figures are accurate, atrial fibrillation patients could be at serious risk of death over patients who may have opted for other forms of treatment.  But given the amount of news surrounding treatments like anti- coagulant medications, it appears to be par for the course in atrial fibrillation treatments.

If You Have Been Injured By Your Heart Medication

Unfortunately, if you're taking heart medication, you could be at serious risk for injury.  This could be devastating and deadly.  Patients are encouraged to speak to their doctor regarding the safety of their medications and to discuss any changes in treatment.  But if you have suffered a heart medication injury, you should speak to a skilled product liability and personal injury lawyer