Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Effect of Chinese Medicines Chan Su and Lu-Shen-Wan on Serum Digoxin Measurement by Digoxin III, a New Digoxin Immunoassay

Reyes, Meredith A MD; Actor, Jeffrey K PhD; Risin, Semyon A MD, PhD; Dasgupta, Amitava PhD

doi: 10.1097/FTD.0b013e31816457c7
Orginal Article

Abstract: Chan Su and Lu-Shen-Wan are Chinese medicines that crossreact with digoxin immunoassays. Recently, Abbott Laboratories released a new digoxin immunoassay, Digoxin III. We studied potential interference of Chan Su and Lu-Shen-Wan with the Digoxin III assay by comparing results obtained by using Digoxin II and fluorescence polarization immunoassay, also manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. Aliquots of a drug-free serum pool were supplemented with aqueous extract of Chan Su or Lu-Shen-Wan and apparent digoxin concentrations were measured using all three digoxin assays. Significant crossreactivity of Chan Su and Lu-Shen-Wan was observed with the new Digoxin III assay. Moreover, when mice were fed with Chan Su or Lu-Shen-Wan, significant apparent digoxin concentrations were also observed in the sera of mice using the Digoxin III assay indicating that such interferences are also present in vivo. When serum pools prepared from patients receiving digoxin were further supplemented with Chan Su or Lu-Shen-Wan extract, falsely elevated digoxin values were observed with both Digoxin III and fluorescence polarization immunoassay, but digoxin values were falsely lowered using the Digoxin II assay. For example, when one aliquot of Digoxin Serum Pool 1 containing 0.94 ng/mL of digoxin was supplemented with 5.0 μg/mL of Chan Su extract, the digoxin concentration was falsely elevated to 6.60 ng/mL as measured by the Digoxin III assay and 6.99 as measured by the fluorescence polarization immunoassay assay. In contrast, the observed digoxin value was falsely lowered to 0.72 ng/mL using the Digoxin II assay. Interference of Chan Su and Lu-Shen-Wan in the Digoxin III assay cannot be eliminated by monitoring free digoxin concentrations. Digibind neutralizes digoxin-like immunoreactive components of Chan Su and such effect can be monitored by measuring apparent free digoxin concentrations using the Digoxin III assay. We conclude the both Chan Su and Lu-Shen-Wan significantly interfere with serum digoxin measurements by the new Digoxin III assay.

From the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Houston, Texas.

Received for publication September 27, 2007; accepted November 22, 2007.

Correspondence: Amitava Dasgupta, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, 6431 Fannin, MSB 2.292, Houston, TX 77030 (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.