Digoxin – Uses, Side Effects, Warnings, and More
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Digoxin is one of the drugs that may be prescribed to patients who have been diagnosed with heart failure. Additionally, it is used to treat specific types of heartbeat irregularities (such as chronic atrial fibrillation). Your ability to walk and exercise may be preserved by treatment for heart failure, and your heart’s strength may improve as a result of the treatment. The treatment of a heartbeat that is irregular can also improve a person’s capacity to exercise. Digoxin is considered to be a member of the cardiac glycosides category of drugs. It accomplishes its goal by acting on particular minerals (sodium and potassium) that are found within cardiac cells. This helps the heart maintain a regular, steady, and robust beating while also reducing the load that is placed on it.
The correct way to take digoxin
This drug should be taken orally, either with or without food and should only be taken once daily unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, measure the dose very carefully using the dropper that the manufacturer has provided for you. You should not use a regular spoon since you run the risk of not getting the right amount.
It’s possible that your body won’t be able to absorb this medication as well if you also consume foods that are high in fiber or if you’re taking other prescriptions. It is recommended that you take this prescription at least two hours before or after consuming foods that are high in fiber (such as bran). Wait at least two hours after taking your digoxin dose before taking any of these other items if you are also taking cholestyramine, colestipol, or psyllium. This is important to keep in mind if you are taking any of these other medications. If you are going to be taking digoxin at the same time as other medications, such as antacids, kaolin-pectin, milk of magnesia, metoclopramide, sulfasalazine, or aminosalicylic acid, space those other medications out as much as you can. If you are unsure of when to take any of your prescriptions, it is best to consult with your pharmacist.
Your medical condition, age, body weight, reaction to treatment, and laboratory tests all play a role in determining the appropriate dosage of this drug for you to take.
Make sure you take this medication as directed for it to have the desired effect. Utilizing it at the same time every day will assist you in remembering how to use it. It is important that you speak with your healthcare provider before discontinuing the use of this medicine. When the medication is suddenly discontinued, several conditions may become even more severe.
If your situation does not improve or if it gets worse, you should let your doctor know.
It is possible that you will experience nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. Notify your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if any of these side effects continue or become worse.
Keep in mind that the reason your doctor has recommended that you take this medication is that he or she believes that the potential benefits to you outweigh the potential risks of doing so. The majority of persons who take this medicine do not report experiencing any severe adverse effects.
Notify your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of the following unlikely but serious adverse effects: weakness, changes in mental state or mood, changes in vision (such as blurred or yellow/green vision), or swollen or sore breasts in men.
Although this medication is prescribed for the treatment of a certain kind of irregular heartbeat, there is a remote possibility that it could also cause other kinds of irregular heartbeats. If you experience an abnormally fast, sluggish, or irregular heartbeat, you should contact your physician as soon as possible.
It is quite unusual for this medicine to cause an extremely severe allergic reaction. However, you should get medical help right away if you detect any symptoms of significant allergic response, such as a rash, itching/swelling (particularly of the face/tongue/throat), extreme dizziness, or difficulty breathing. These symptoms can indicate anaphylaxis.
This list of potential adverse effects is not exhaustive in any way. Please consult your physician or pharmacist if you have any side effects that are not listed above.
In the United States, if you are experiencing any adverse effects, please consult your primary care physician. You can call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit their website at www.fda.gov/medwatch to report any adverse effects.
In Canada, if you are experiencing any adverse effects, please consult your primary care physician. You can call Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345 to report any adverse effects you experience.
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Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to digoxin, or to other medicines that are similar to digoxin (such as digitoxin), or if you have any additional allergies before beginning treatment with digoxin. There is a possibility that this product contains inactive substances, which, if present, could result in allergic responses or other complications. Discuss the matter further with your pharmacist for further information.
Before beginning treatment with this drug, it is important to discuss your medical history with your doctor or pharmacist, particularly if you have a history of renal or thyroid problems (underactive or overactive).
This medication may cause you to feel lightheaded or give you blurry vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you dizzier. Do not operate a motor vehicle, any machinery, or engage in any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are able to complete them safely. Reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages. If you are a marijuana user, you should consult your primary care physician (cannabis).
The levels of certain naturally occurring minerals in your blood, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, can have an impact on how this medication is processed by the body. There is a possibility that the usual equilibrium of these minerals could be upset by taking certain medications, such as “water pills” (diuretics). Notify your primary care physician or your pharmacist if you are currently taking a “water pill” or if you have a previous history of mineral imbalance. Talk to your primary care physician or your pharmacist about whether or not you should follow a specific diet or take a nutritional supplement.
Inform your treating physician or dentist that you are taking this medicine before undergoing any kind of surgery or procedure that involves your heart (such as electrical cardioversion), for example.
Children and infants may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, particularly those that affect the rate at which the heart beats.
During pregnancy, it is important to only use this drug when it is absolutely necessary. Talk to your healthcare provider about the potential drawbacks and advantages.
It is possible for digoxin to enter breast milk. Consult your physician before beginning to breastfeed your child, even though there have been no reports of any adverse effects on nursing babies.
Drug interactions can alter the way in which your prescriptions work or raise the likelihood that you will have major adverse effects. This document does not contain all possible medication interactions. Maintain a list of all the goods you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as herbal remedies, and give it to both your primary care physician and your pharmacist. Without first consulting your physician, you should never alter the dosage of any medication, stop taking any medication, or start taking any new medication.
The elimination of digoxin from your body can be impacted by the use of other drugs, which in turn can have an effect on how well digoxin functions. A few examples of these are azole antifungals (like itraconazole), dronedarone, lapatinib, macrolide antibiotics (such clarithromycin and erythromycin), propafenone, rifampin, and St. John’s wort.
There are some items on the market that include components that could make your heart failure worse. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using and ask for instructions on how to use them safely. This is especially important for over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen.
Dial 911 if you suspect that someone has overdosed and they are exhibiting serious symptoms such as passing out or having problems breathing. In any other case, you should immediately contact a poison control center. To reach the poison control center for your area in the United States, dial 1-800-222-1222. Canadian residents can call a provincial poison control center.
This drug should not be given to anyone else.
While you are taking this medication, you may be required to undergo a number of tests in the hospital or a lab, including checks on your levels of digoxin and minerals in your blood, evaluations of your kidney function, and electrocardiograms. Make sure you don’t miss any of your doctor or lab appointments. Consult your doctor for additional details.
While you are taking this medicine, you should get your blood pressure and pulse (heart rate) checked on a frequent basis. You should become familiar with the procedures for taking your own blood pressure and pulse at home and then report the results to your attending physician.
If you forget to take a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember if it is less than 12 hours until the next time you are supposed to take it. If it has been more than 12 hours since your usual dose, you should not take the dose that you missed. Your next dose should be taken at the typical time. It is not necessary to double the dose in order to catch up. If you have skipped more than two doses in a row, you should consult your physician or pharmacist as soon as possible about a new dosing regimen.
Keep at room temperature and away from light and moisture. Store at room temperature. Keep away from the bathroom at all costs. Always make sure that children and animals are kept well away from any medications.
Unless you have been specifically told to do so, you should not flush drugs down the toilet or pour them down a drain. When it is no longer needed or has passed its expiration date, dispose of this product in the appropriate manner. Talk to your neighborhood pharmacy or the firm that handles garbage disposal in your area.