Inhibition of Digoxin Absorption by Neomycin

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The effect of the administration of the antibiotic neomycin sulfate on the absorption of digoxin was assessed in crossover studies in normal human volunteers. Doses of neomycin (1 and 3 g) markedly depressed serum digoxin concentrations, the areas under the serum concentration-time curves, and cumulative 6-day urinary digoxin excretion after the oral ingestion of 0.5 mg of the cardiac glycoside in tablet form. Neomycin also prolonged the mean time at which peak serum digoxin levels were attained by 1.7 to 3 hr. The inhibition of digoxin absorption was also seen: (1) when the antibiotic was given 3 or 6 hr before the cardiac glycoside, (2) with digoxin tablets of varying dissolution rate, (3) when digoxin or neomycin solutions were used instead of tablets, and (4) in a patient who had had a total gastrectomy. When neomycin was administered with maintenance doses of digoxin, steady state serum digoxin concentrations were significantly reduced. When neomycin was given after a 9-day period of digitalization, the terminal serum digoxin half-life was not significantly shortened. Single doses of neomycin did not interfere with the extent of absorption of d-xylose. In vitro, neomycin did not affect the movement of digoxin across dialysis membranes, nor did it precipitate digoxin out of human bile or intestinal fluid. Neomycin thus clearly depresses the rate and extent of digoxin absorption in man. The mechanism of this effect remains to be established. © 1976, The Williams & Wilkins Company. All rights reserved.




Lindenbaum, J., Maulitz, R. M., & Butler, V. P. (1976). Inhibition of Digoxin Absorption by Neomycin. Gastroenterology, 71(3), 399–404.

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