Serum digoxin and beta-methyldigoxin in elderly patients on hospital admission: correlation with home compliance and clinical variables
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Serum digoxin and beta-methyldigoxin (BMD) were measured in 165 elderly patients (age >60 years) admitted to hospital, of whom 109 had been treated at home with digoxin and 56 with BMD.
The mean BMD level was significantly lower than that of digoxin (1.1 vs. 1.4 ng/ml). Creatinine clearance and daily dose were the variables most strongly associated with digoxin level, and the prescribed dose and serum albumin were the best predictors of the BMD concentration. Compliance was assessed by a compliance index (CI), namely the ratio of the measured glycoside concentration, corrected for creatinine clearance, over the expected steady-state dose, calculated from a hospitalized reference group. Compliant individuals in both treatment groups, i.e. those with a CI > the median value, were characterized by a lower daily dose and dosage frequency.
Toxicity, whether clinical or electrocardiographic, was present in 9% of the patients and was associated only with a significantly higher mean serum level of the drug.
Key wordsdigoxin beta-methyldigoxin serum levels compliance toxicity elderly patients hospital admission prediction
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