We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Effective Is Digoxin for Atrial Fibrillation?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jan 30, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A number of drugs tend to be more effective than digoxin for atrial fibrillation, although the medication still has a place in cardiac care. This medication has a long and established history in the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms, but studies suggest newer generation drugs are often more appropriate. Doctors continue to recommend digoxin for atrial fibrillation in specific cases, often in combination with other medications, and it can be effective in the treatment of some patients. Patients with concerns about their heart health and treatment options can discuss available choices with a cardiologist.

Digoxin is a derivative of foxglove, which has been used in the management of cardiac conditions since the 1700s. It works by slowing the heart rate and increasing the intensity of contractions. The medication can be particularly effective in the management of patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction, especially when those patients are not very active. For other cases, alternative medications may be more appropriate.

One issue with using digoxin for atrial fibrillation is that it primarily acts on the resting heart rate. Patients who are more active may not experience the same level of rate control while on the medication because it cannot compensate for physical activity. These patients may need treatment with an additional or alternative medication. It is important to keep the heart rate under control at all times, and thus a medication that only works some of the time may not be desirable.

In addition, digoxin for atrial fibrillation does not have any demonstrated efficacy for converting the heart rhythm. Patients with an abnormal heart rhythm need conversion, a restoration to the normal heart rhythm, for successful treatment. Digoxin alone cannot bring a patient's heart back to the normal sinus rhythm; for this, the patient needs other drugs. For this reason, the drug is not safe to use in isolation for management of a patient with atrial fibrillation.

Cardiologists may recommend digoxin for atrial fibrillation as part of a larger overall plan for management of a patient's heart rate and rhythm. The patient may need to transition to beta blockers and other drugs for long term management of an abnormal heart rhythm. Options for care can depend on the type of problem the patient experiences. There can be a number of causes for atrial fibrillation and it is important to thoroughly evaluate the patient to learn about the specifics of the case and decide how to proceed with treatment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.