The interaction between digoxin and verapamil was studied in six patients (mean age +/- SD, 61 +/- 5 years) with chronic atrial fibrillation. The effects of adding verapamil (240 mg/day) on steady-state plasma concentrations and renal and biliary clearances of digoxin were studied in a crossover manner. The biliary clearance of digoxin was determined by a duodenal perfusion technique. Verapamil induced a 44% increase in steady-state plasma concentrations of digoxin, from 0.80 +/- 0.24 to 1.15 +/- 0.40 nmol/L (p less than 0.01). The biliary clearance of digoxin decreased by 43%, from 187 +/- 89 to 101 +/- 55 ml/min (p less than 0.05), in the presence of verapamil, whereas the renal clearance was unaffected (153 +/- 31 versus 173 +/- 51 ml/min; difference not significant). Our results indicate that the main inhibitory effect of verapamil on digoxin elimination is on the biliary route.