Interruption of the enterohepatic circulation of digitoxin by cholestyramine. II. Effect on metabolic disposition of tritium-labeled digitoxin and cardiac systolic intervals in man

The Journal of Clinical Investigation
J H CaldwellN J Greenberger


Previous studies of digitalis glycoside metabolism and excretion have indicated that these compounds undergo a significant enterohepatic cycle in some species. It has been suggested that the existence of such a cycle in man contributes to the prolonged action of certain cardiac glycosides. Previous studies have demonstrated that cholestyramine binds digitoxin and digoxin in vitro and accelerates the metabolic disposition of digitoxin in rats and guinea pigs, presumably by interrupting the enterohepatic circulation. In order to assess the role of the enterohepatic circulation in the metabolism of digitalis glycosides in humans, maintenance doses of cholestyramine were administered to 7 of 15 normal human subjects beginning 8 hr after digitalization with 1.2 mg of digitoxin-(3)H. All subjects had frequent measurements of serum radioactivity, left ventricular ejection time (LVET), and electromechanical systole (QS(2)), the latter recorded as the interval from onset of Q wave to first major component of second heart sound. Measurement of the LVET and QS(2) intervals affords a sensitive index of the cardiac response to digitalis. In addition, chloroform extraction of serum was performed to separate unchanged digitoxin and active met...Continue Reading


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