This medicine contains digoxin as active ingredient. It belongs to the group of cardiac glycosides, working directly on heart muscle. The drug improves the heart’s pumping ability or helps control its beating rhythm.
People with heart failure often develop swelling of the lower legs, feet, and ankles; this medicine improves by improving blood circulation.
Digitalis is the collective term for the naturally occurring substances (also called cardiac glycosides) that are found in the leaves of the foxglove family and used to treat certain heart conditions.
Digitalis drugs are useful for treating conditions in which the heart beats irregularly or too rapidly (notably in atrial fibrillation), when it pumps too weakly (in congestive heart failure), or when the heart muscle is damaged and weakened following a heart attack.
Digitalis drugs can be used for a short period when the heart is working poorly, but in many cases they have to be taken indefinitely. Their effect does not diminish with time. In heart failure, digitalis drugs are often given together with a diuretic drug.
The medicine is prescribed for the treatment of:
• Mild to moderate chronic heart failure
• Atrial fibrillation (irregular, fast heartbeat)
• Certain types of congestive heart failure
• Damaged heart after heart attack
Cautions and Warnings
This medicine should not be used in people with ventricular fibrillation, sick sinus syndrome or incomplete AV block, as it may cause a worsening of these conditions.
This medicine has been used to treat obesity. The risk of fatal heart rhythms associated with such treatment makes it extremely dangerous as weight-loss medication. Many heart disease symptoms may be associated with this medicine.
Kidney diseases may increase blood levels of this medicine. Your dosage may need adjustment.
Long-term use of this medicine may cause the body to lose potassium, especially since it is generally used in combination with diuretics. For this reason, be sure to eat a balanced diet and high-potassium foods (bananas, citrus fruits, melons, tomatoes).
Digitalis drugs can be toxic and, if blood levels rise too high, they may produce symptoms of digitalized poisoning.
Before using this medicine
Before you use this medicine check with your doctor, or pharmacist:
• if you ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any cardiac glycoside
• if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medicine;
• if you have low blood pressure
• if you have kidney or liver disease
• if you are breast-feeding an infant
• if you easily get a rash or intensity sunburn in areas exposed to sun or ultraviolet light.
This medication is used for treatment of certain heart conditions.
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen.
A single initial dose of 500 micrograms to 750 micrograms usually produces a minimal affect half an hour to 2 hours; the maximal affect occurs in 2 to 6 hours. Additional doses of 125 micrograms to 375 micrograms may be given cautiously at 6- to 8-hour interval.
A typical maintenance dose may be 125 micrograms or 250 micrograms taken once daily, but individual requirements vary widely. Doses may be increased every 2 weeks according to response.
Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor’s approval.
Along with the needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Possible side effects include:
• Appetite loss
• Blurred or yellow-tinted vision
• Seeing halos around bright lights
• Abnormal heart rhythms
The following symptoms may be a sign of digitalis poisoning:
• Excessive tiredness
• Loss of appetite
• Visual disturbances
Call a doctor or hospital emergency room for instructions. If necessary start first aid immediately.
Many drugs may increase of decrease the effect of this medicine. Taking this medicine after a high-fiber meal reduces the amount of drug absorbed onto your blood.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking.
Capsules, tablets, etc. should be stored at room temperature; store away from heat and direct light. Keep out of reach of children, since this medicine may be dangerous in children.