Pharmacokinetics of Digoxin: Interpreting Bioavailability

N. Sanchez, L. B. Sheiner, H. Halkin, K. L. Melmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three subjects were first given a digoxin tablet in the fasting state and subsequently received the same formulation in the fed state, to simulate a spurious oral bio-availability difference. As expected, when measured by peak serum digoxin concentration as well as by area under the serum digoxin concentration-time curve the bioavailability of digoxin appeared to be higher in the fasting state than in the fed state. However, when measured by cumulative five-day urinary excretion of digoxin bioavailability was identical in both conditions. This simple experiment illustrates the fact that the estimation of bioavailability is subject to considerable methodological error, of which the clinician must be aware when evaluating reports on drug bioavailability in general and of digoxin in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132
Number of pages1
JournalThe BMJ
Issue number5885
StatePublished - 20 Oct 1973
Externally publishedYes


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