Digoxin, the heart failure drug that's been used in medicine in some form for more than 200 years, increases the risk of death by nearly 30 per cent.
Patients with atrial fibrillation (irregular or fast heart beat) are most at risk, say researchers from the Cochrane review, with a 29 per cent increased chance of dying. The other group at risk were congestive heart failure (CHF) patients whose risk rises by 14 per cent. The findings are based on a review of 19 studies, involving 326,426 heart patients.
Digoxin, the generic name for a range of heart-failure drugs, is included in the World health organization's list of essential drugs.
(Source: European Heart Journal, 2015; doi: http://dx.doi.10.1093/eurheartj/ehv143)