Digoxin Usage, Dose, Side Effects and Interaction

Digoxin is used to help manage heart symptoms associated with heart attacks or irregular heartbeat. Dosing for digoxin is based on the patient's body weight.

Digoxin is used to cure heart conditions, most notably those associated with irregular heartbeat. This medication is not capable of curing these conditions, but it can help manage the symptoms to provide comfort to the patient. Once your symptoms are alleviated, you should continue taking this drug regularly to ensure that they do not return. Dosing an administration of this drug will be dependent on the patient's weight, so you will need to have your records updated when you alter your prescription. Doses after a severe cardiac incident will vary, depending on the extent of the damage that has been done to your cardiovascular system. Work closely with your doctor to determine the best course of action when determining your dosing size.

Indications and Usage

It may be sold under the brand names Cardoxin, Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin or Digitek. These are used to treat abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure by helping your body better manage your heart rate. Occasionally, it will be prescribed after a heart attack to help manage the pain caused by this condition.

This medication can be prescribed in liquid, capsule and tablet form, all of which are meant to be consumed orally. Different brands alter the dosage and concentrations, so it is important to make sure your refills are always the same brand.

Instructions for your medication will vary, depending on your dosage and the type of medication you are using. Read the instructions on your prescription carefully before you begin taking your medication to make sure you understand how much to take and when. You should try to take doses consistently, but if you forget a dose take one as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time you should be taking your next dose. You should not double up on doses even if you have missed one.

 

Digoxin Dosage

  • Those using the med for heart failure will be prescribed 10-15 mg initially, which may be increased by 3-4.5mg per day as necessary.
  • Children over 10 can use this dosing scale to treat heart failure.
  • Those between 5-10 should take 20-35 mg per day based on their body weight.
  • Those 2-5 years of age will be started at doses around 9.4-13.1 mg per kg of body weight, which can be increased to 30-45 mg if necessary.
  • Babies may use a similar dosing scale but premature babies may need to be restricted to 20-30 mg per day.

Those using this drug for rapid digitalization will be issued 8-12 mg which will be taken every 6-8 hours. In some cases, an initial dose of 500-750 mg will be given to force the heart into a normal rhythm. Doses in this case should not exceed 1250 mg for the initial dose. Those using this drug for maintaining optimum heart health after a heart attack will be given 125-500 mg per day, depending on the severity of the damage to the heart.

Those with renal failure will be limited to 70 mg per day to ensure that the body can remove this drug successfully. You may also be limited to 100-200 mg per day when you are changing the preparation that you will be using every day, or switching to a different brand of the medication.

 

Digoxin Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with this drug are dizziness, fainting, slow heartbeat or fast, irregular heartbeat or pulse. These may lessen as your body becomes used to the medication and are not usually signs of a serious condition. However, you should report all side effects to your doctor to ensure that a change does not need to be made to your level of medication. If you ever feel as though your heart is beating in a way that is dangerous to your overall health, get medical assistance to help evaluate your risk.

Rare side effects include bloody vomit, bleeding gums, red spots on the skin, rash, severe stomach pain, black stool, and unusual bleeding or bruising. These are signs that your body is not reacting well to your medication. Seek medical assistance if any of these side effects occur, and contact your doctor to determine if you need to stop taking this drug. Do not stop taking your medication suddenly unless expressly told to do so by your doctor.

As your body gets used to the medication, you may experience anxiety, agitation, confusion, depression, fear of impending death, hallucinations, diarrhea, rash or vomiting. These symptoms should become less severe and then stop all together after a few days of starting your medication. Contact your doctor to report any of these side effects so you can make sure that a change to your dosing does not need to be made.

Other side effects include chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet and lower legs, unusual fatigue and trouble breathing. The incidence of these side effects is not known. These may lessen as your body becomes used to the medication, but you should contact your doctor if they get worse or do not stop after a few days. If at any time you feel as though you may lose consciousness because you are having trouble breathing, contact emergency medical services.

 

Interactions

Some drugs may increase your risk of side effects when combined with digoxin. These include acarbose, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, atenolol, bepridil, canrenoate, cyclosporine, darunavir, dilevalol, epoprostenol, flecainide, fluoxetine, hydroxychloronquine, labetalol, lurasidone, magaldrate, magnesium hydroxide, miglitol, nabolol, propranolol, quinine, rabeprazole, rifampin, sotalol, talinolol, and valspodar. Tell your doctor about any drugs you might be taking, so you can have your dosing adjusted to avoid a potential negative reaction to your medication.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a potassium supplement along with your prescription. In this case, you may need to follow a low sodium diet or avoid foods that are high in potassium to avoid conflicting with this medication. Do not take it upon yourself to make these alterations to your diet or supplements unless expressly told to do so. Tell your doctor about any supplements you are currently taking, so they can evaluate how much potassium you are getting in your diet.

You should not take this drug with food as this could cause an adverse reaction. Talk with your doctor about any foods that might need to be avoided around the time you take your prescription. You should also avoid alcohol and tobacco while using this medication to prevent putting further strain on your heart.

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