Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Summary A capsule preparation containing small, enteric-coated granules of digoxin was developed to prevent acid hydrolysis of the drug in the stomach and to diminish the variation in plasma glycoside concentration during the intervals between doses. The absorption and metabolism of tritiated digoxin after a single oral loading dose of this formulation (Formulation C) were compared to those after ingestion of a digoxin solution (Formulation S) by 8 healthy men. Drug concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA) and liquid chromatography (LC). The percentage of the digoxin dose excreted in the urine during 72 h, as measured by RIA, was significantly lower after the capsule (20.5±2.0% vs 36.2±3.0% after S, mean±SEM) but total urinary radioactivity after the two treatments was similar (C 35.3±5.2 and S 41.2±2.6%; p〉0.05). The discrepancy was mainly due to significantly greater excretion of dihydrodigoxin after the capsule ( $$\bar m$$ 12.8%, range 0–28.6% of the dose) than after the digoxin solution ( $$\bar m$$ 5.4%, range 0–14.5%). Dihydrodigoxin was not measured by the RIA. The recovery of hydrolysis metabolites (LC) was greater during the first 24 h after S (2.3±0.6% vs 0.9±0.3% after C; p〈0.05). The peak plasma concentration of digoxin (RIA) was significantly reduced and delayed after intake of C (2.5±0.4 nmol/l at 3.8±0.3 h vs. 8.3±0.8 nmol/l at 0.9±0.1 h after S), and so was the shortening of electromechanical systole at 1.5 h, 2.5 h, and 3 h. Thus, the enteric-coated digoxin preparation delayed the absorption and reduced the hydrolysis of the glycoside, but it also carried the drawback of reducing digoxin availability, mainly because of increased metabolism to dihydrodigoxin.
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