Digoxin is often taken alone and with other medications to treat heart failures. Sometimes, it’s also prescribed to treat chronic atrial fibrillation. Its intake helps patients maintain their ability to exercise and work and improves their heart strength. It’s advisable to treat irregular heartbeat to reduce the risk of having blood clots, and this effect decreases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Digoxin belongs to a group of drugs called cardiac glycosides, and it works by affecting specific minerals in heart cells, thus, decreasing strain on your heart and helping you maintain steady, strong and normal heartbeats.
Recommendations on Its Proper Use
You should take Digoxin orally once a day, both with and without food, but be sure to follow the necessary recommendations of your doctor who prescribes regular doses based on your medical condition, tolerance, body weight, lab tests and other basic factors. Your body may fail to absorb this medication if you combine it with food products that are high in fiber.
Expected Adverse Effects
Digoxin is responsible for causing certain side effects, such as:
Vomiting and nausea;
Loss of appetite and diarrhea;
Headaches and allergic reactions.
Most of these symptoms are mild, but if they persist, you should let your doctor know about it. Most patients who take this medication don’t have serious adverse effects, including:
Mood and mental changes;
Unusual weakness and vision changes;
Tender or enlarged breasts in male patients;
Irregular, slow or fast heartbeats.
When you notice any of these severe signs, you need to go to the hospital at once.
Basic Digoxin Precautions
Before you start this treatment, you should discuss with your physician other medical conditions that you have because they may affect it. For example, be careful if you have any allergy, thyroid problems, kidney diseases and others. The right balance of specific minerals in the human body, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, may affect the action of Digoxin. The same can be said for water pills, so you need to inform doctors about that. Find out whether you need to use nutritional supplements or stick to specific diets when undergoing this treatment. Infants and older patients are more sensitive to the side effects of this medicine.
Possible Drug Interactions
There are some medications that may potentially interact with Digoxin, including colestipol, cholestyramine, psyllium, antacids, sulfasalazine, metoclopramide, azole antifungals, macrolide antibiotics, rifampin and others. They should be avoided if you don’t want to end up with dangerous drug interactions that increase the risk of severe side effects and affect the effectiveness of this treatment. That’s why you need to make a list of other pharmaceutical products that you’re using and show it to your doctor. Include both prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins and minerals.