LANOXIN (Page 5 of 8)

7.4 Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions

Endogenous substances of unknown composition (digoxin-like immunoreactive substances [DLIS]) can interfere with standard radioimmunoassays for digoxin. The interference most often causes results to be falsely positive or falsely elevated, but sometimes it causes results to be falsely reduced. Some assays are more subject to these failings than others. Several LC/MS/MS methods are available that may provide less susceptibility to DLIS interference. DLIS are present in up to half of all neonates and in varying percentages of pregnant women, patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, patients with renal or hepatic dysfunction, and other patients who are volume-expanded for any reason. The measured levels of DLIS (as digoxin equivalents) are usually low (0.2-0.4 ng/mL), but sometimes they reach levels that would be considered therapeutic or even toxic.

In some assays, spironolactone, canrenone, and potassium canrenoate may be falsely detected as digoxin, at levels up to 0.5 ng/mL. Some traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine substances like Chan Su, Siberian Ginseng, Asian Ginseng, Ashwagandha, or Danshen can cause similar interference.

Spironolactone and DLIS are much more extensively protein-bound than digoxin. As a result, assays of free digoxin levels in protein-free ultrafiltrate (which tend to be about 25% less than total levels, consistent with the usual extent of protein binding) are less affected by spironolactone or DLIS. It should be noted that ultrafiltration does not solve all interference problems with alternative medicines. The use of an LC/MS/MS method may be the better option according to the good results it provides, especially in terms of specificity and limit of quantization.


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

Experience with digoxin in pregnant women over several decades, based on published retrospective clinical studies and case reports, has not led to the identification of a drug associated risk of major birth defects, miscarriage or adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. Untreated underlying maternal conditions, such as heart failure and atrial fibrillation, during pregnancy pose a risk to the mother and fetus (see Clinical Consideration). Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with digoxin.

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population(s) are unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively.

Clinical Considerations

Disease-associated maternal and/or embryo/fetal risk

Pregnant women with heart failure are at increased risk for preterm birth. Clinical classification of heart disease may worsen with pregnancy and lead to maternal or fetal death.

Pregnant women with atrial fibrillation are at an increased risk of delivering a low birth weight infant. Atrial fibrillation may worsen with pregnancy and can lead to maternal or fetal death.

Fetal/neonatal adverse reactions

Digoxin has been shown to cross the placenta and is found in amniotic fluid. Monitor neonates for signs and symptoms of digoxin toxicity, including vomiting, and cardiac arrhythmias [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

Dose adjustments during pregnancy and the postpartum period

LANOXIN requirements may increase during pregnancy and decrease in the postpartum period. Monitor serum digoxin levels during pregnancy and the postpartum period [see Dosage and Administration (2.5)].

Labor or Delivery

Risk of arrhythmias may increase during the labor and delivery. Monitor patients continuously during labor and delivery [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1 and 5.2)].

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

The digoxin dose received through breastfeeding is up to 4% of the neonatal maintenance dosage, which is unlikely to be clinically relevant. There are no data on the effects of digoxin on the breastfed infant or the effects on milk production.


Based on data from two lactation studies in a total of 13 breastfed infants, the digoxin concentrations in breast milk were between 0.4 – 1.0 ng/mL following 0.25 mg once daily dose of digoxin in the lactating mother. Thus, the amount of digoxin ingested daily by the infants is estimated to be between 0.03 to 0.16 µg/kg/day. This translates to a relative infant dose of digoxin between 1 to 7% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose and about 0.2 to 4% of the neonatal maintenance dose.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of LANOXIN in the control of ventricular rate in children with atrial fibrillation have not been established.

The safety and effectiveness of LANOXIN in the treatment of heart failure in children have not been established in adequate and well-controlled studies. However, in published literature of children with heart failure of various etiologies (e.g., ventricular septal defects, anthracycline toxicity, patent ductus arteriosus), treatment with digoxin has been associated with improvements in hemodynamic parameters and in clinical signs and symptoms.

Newborn infants display considerable variability in their tolerance to digoxin. Premature and immature infants are particularly sensitive to the effects of digoxin, and the dosage of the drug must not only be reduced but must be individualized according to their degree of maturity.

8.5 Geriatric Use

The majority of clinical experience gained with digoxin has been in the elderly population. This experience has not identified differences in response or adverse effects between the elderly and younger patients. However, this drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, which should be based on renal function, and it may be useful to monitor renal function [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)].

8.6 Renal Impairment

The clearance of digoxin can be primarily correlated with the renal function as indicated by creatinine clearance. Table 3 and Table 5 provide the usual daily maintenance dose requirements for digoxin based on creatinine clearance [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].

Digoxin is primarily excreted by the kidneys; therefore, patients with impaired renal function require smaller than usual maintenance doses of digoxin [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)]. Because of the prolonged elimination half-life, a longer period of time is required to achieve an initial or new steady-state serum concentration in patients with renal impairment than in patients with normal renal function. If appropriate care is not taken to reduce the dose of digoxin, such patients are at high risk for toxicity, and toxic effects will last longer in such patients than in patients with normal renal function.

8.7 Hepatic Impairment

Plasma digoxin concentrations in patients with acute hepatitis generally fall within the range of profiles in a group of healthy subjects.

8.8 Malabsorption

The absorption of digoxin is reduced in some malabsorption conditions such as chronic diarrhea.


10.1 Signs and Symptoms in Adults and Children

The signs and symptoms of toxicity are generally similar to those previously described [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)] but may be more frequent and can be more severe. Signs and symptoms of digoxin toxicity become more frequent with levels above 2 ng/mL. However, in deciding whether a patient’s symptoms are due to digoxin, the clinical state together with serum electrolyte levels and thyroid function are important factors [see Dosage and Administration (2)].

Adults: The most common signs and symptoms of digoxin toxicity are nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and fatigue that occur in 30-70% of patients who are overdosed. Extremely high serum concentrations produce hyperkalemia especially in patients with impaired renal function. Almost every type of cardiac arrhythmia has been associated with digoxin overdose and multiple rhythm disturbances in the same patient are common. Peak cardiac effects occur 3-6 hours following ingestion and may persist for 24 hours or longer. Arrhythmias that are considered more characteristic of digoxin toxicity are new-onset Mobitz type 1 A-V block, accelerated junctional rhythms, non-paroxysmal atrial tachycardia with A-V block, and bi-directional ventricular tachycardia. Cardiac arrest from asystole or ventricular fibrillation is usually fatal.

Digoxin toxicity is related to serum concentration. As digoxin serum levels increase above 1.2 ng/mL, there is a potential for increase in adverse reactions. Furthermore, lower potassium levels increases the risk for adverse reactions. In adults with heart disease, clinical observations suggest that an overdose of digoxin of 10-15 mg results in death of half of patients. A dose above 25 mg ingested by an adult without heart disease appeared to be uniformly fatal if no Digoxin Immune Fab (DIGIBIND®, DIGIFAB®) was administered.

Among the extra-cardiac manifestations, gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, anorexia) are very common (up to 80% incidence) and precede cardiac manifestations in approximately half of the patients in most literature reports. Neurologic manifestations (e.g., dizziness, various CNS disturbances), fatigue, and malaise are very common. Visual manifestations may also occur with aberration in color vision (predominance of yellow green) the most frequent. Neurological and visual symptoms may persist after other signs of toxicity have resolved. In chronic toxicity, nonspecific extra-cardiac symptoms, such as malaise and weakness, may predominate.

Children: In pediatric patients, signs and symptoms of toxicity can occur during or shortly after the dose of digoxin. Frequent non-cardiac effects are similar to those observed in adults although nausea and vomiting are not seen frequently in infants and small pediatric patients. Other reported manifestations of overdose are weight loss in older age groups, failure to thrive in infants, abdominal pain caused by mesenteric artery ischemia, drowsiness, and behavioral disturbances including psychotic episodes. Arrhythmias and combinations of arrhythmias that occur in adult patients can also occur in pediatric patients although sinus tachycardia, supraventricular tachycardia, and rapid atrial fibrillation are seen less frequently in pediatric patients. Pediatric patients are more likely to develop A-V conduction disturbances, or sinus bradycardia. Any arrhythmia in a child treated with digoxin should be considered related to digoxin until otherwise ruled out. In pediatric patients aged 1-3 years without heart disease, clinical observations suggest that an overdose of digoxin of 6-10 mg would result in death of half of the patients. In the same population, a dose above 10 mg resulted in death if no Digoxin Immune Fab were administered.

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