The influence of verapamil on serum digoxin concentration.
The effect of verapamil on the pharmacokinetics of digoxin was studied in 49 patients with chronic atrial fibrillation. A dose of 240 mg/day of verapamil was given to the patients who were receiving a stable dose of digoxin. Serum digoxin levels rose from 0.76 +/- 0.54 ng/ml (mean +/- SD) to 1.31 +/- 0.54 ng/ml during verapamil treatment (p less than 0.0005). This effect was dose-dependent, as shown in seven subjects who received 160 mg and then, 240 mg of verapamil: There was a stepwise rise in serum digoxin concentration from a control value of 0.60 +/- 0.11 ng/ml to 0.84 +/- 0.18 ng/ml and 1.24 +/- 0.40 ng/ml, respectively (p less than 0.01 for both steps). The effect of verapamil developed gradually within the first few days in seven subjects in whom serum digoxin concentration reached, within 7 days, 90% of the increase observed 14 days after onset of verapamil. Renal digoxin clearance decreased significantly (26.1 +/- 0.7 vs 55.1 +/- 12.3 ml/min, p less than 0.005) in six patients in whom serum digoxin concentration increased. It did not change in one patient in whom serum digoxin concentration was not influenced by verapamil. Creatine clearance did not change in any of these seven. The same effects on digoxin clearance were observed in three normal subjects. Among the 49 patients, verapamil resulted in the development of signs and symptoms that suggested digitalis toxicity in seven. Verapamil significantly increased serum digoxin concentration. The process is dose-dependent and gradual, and it is at least partially explained by reduced renal excretion without reduction in glomerular filtration. The dose of digoxin may need readjustment in patients who are concomitantly receiving verapamil.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association