Data relating to the use of digoxin from a descriptive epidemiological study of drug use in residential homes for elderly people were analysed. Of the 1,888 residents in the study homes, 212 were receiving cardiac glycosides. The ratio of females to males who received cardiac glycosides was 2.8:1; however, this was not statistically significant as it reflected the overall population. The median age of recipients of cardiac glycosides was 85.2 years and they were significantly older than non-recipients (P less than 0.001). The cardiac glycosides were almost exclusively prescribed as digoxin, the median dose was 125 micrograms with a range of 62.5 to 250 micrograms, and the median duration of treatment was 2.3 years, range less than 0.1 to 10.1 years. Digoxin was involved in a total of 152 potential drug interactions, 12 of which were potentially highly significant clinically.
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