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Heart disease drug may be dangerous to patients on dialysis

Category: Kidney Diseases

Patients who are taking certain heart medications and are also on dialysis may want to have their kidneys tested for further damage, as a new study has found that the heart medication digoxin may increase the risk of premature death.

The research, which was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, monitored the medical records of more than 120,000 dialysis patients for a period of four years. Investigators found that those taking digoxin for heart disease were 28 percent more likely to die during the study period than those who were not taking the medication.

The authors noted that establishing the link was important because there are more than 400,000 individuals who are on dialysis for end-stage renal disease that can increase the risk for heart disease. Many of these patients may be treated with digoxin to improve their heart function.

"We were surprised to find that digoxin use increased death risk in dialysis patients," said Kevin Chan. "Although digoxin has been prescribed by doctors for over 200 years, widespread monitoring studies have not been conducted to examine the safety of the drug among patients on dialysis."

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