Digoxin
DESCRIPTION

Digoxin is a medication which is used to treat heart failure and irregular heartbeats. The drug is also referred to as Lanoxin.

How it works

Digoxin belongs to a group of drugs known as cardiac glycosides. These drugs work by affecting specific minerals such as sodium and potassium in the heart cells. This in turn, reduces the strain on the heart and enables individuals to maintain a steady heartbeat.

Uses

Digoxin is primarily used to treat individuals suffering heart failure. This medication is usually prescribed alongside other medications for this condition. The drug is also used to treat a type of irregular heartbeat commonly known as chronic atrial fibrillation. Using this medication for heart failure will enhance your ability to exercise. On the other hand, using this medication to treat irregular heartbeat will reduce the likelihood of developing blood clots.

Dosage

Digoxin is generally taken once a day, with or without food. Your body will not absorb this medication well if you consume it with foods that have high fiber content. So, if you are having a fiber-rich meal, make sure to take the drug 2 hours before or after. Also, if you are consuming any other medications, it is best to take this drug 2 hours earlier.

The dosage will be based on a number of factors such as your condition, response to the treatment, age, body weight and certain laboratory tests.

If you are taking this medication in liquid form, you need to measure the dose carefully by using the dropper provided by the manufacturer. It is not safe to use a household spoon since you might get the wrong dosage.

Do not stop consuming this medication unless your physician instructs you to do so. Your condition can become worse if the treatment is terminated suddenly.

Side effects

During the treatment period, you might experience common side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and loss of appetite. These symptoms usually do not persist for long. However, if these conditions worsen, inform your physician.

You may also experience certain rare, but dangerous, side effects such as weakness, mood changes, vision changes and enlarged breasts in men.

Although you are unlikely to develop allergic reactions, contact your physician if you develop swelling, severe dizziness, difficult breathing or a rash during the treatment period.

Precautions

The precautionary methods mentioned below must be followed on a regular basis to ensure your personal safety during the treatment period.

Inform your doctor if you are allergic to Digoxin or similar medications.
Inform your physician if you’ve previously suffered from thyroid or liver problems.
Do not drive after taking this drug as it can cause blurred vision.
Be careful when giving this drug to children since they are more susceptible to certain side effects.
Inform your healthcare provider if you are consuming a water pill along with this medication.

Self-care

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you must only take this medication when it is absolutely necessary.

Even though this medication can be passed into breast milk, there is no evidence to suggest that it can harm your infant. So, if you are planning to breastfeed your baby during the treatment period, discuss the matter with your healthcare provider.

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