Drug class: digitalis glycosides

Generic (Brand) names: digoxin (Lanoxin)

In heart failure, your weakened heart canít send enough oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. This drug helps your heart to pump more strongly, increasing the amount of blood your heart pumps with each beat.

You may be prescribed this drug if you continue to have symptoms despite taking other heart failure medications. You may also take this drug if you cannot tolerate other heart failure medications.

This drug makes your heart beat more strongly. It also slows down your heart rate. This can help you to be more active without your heart rate becoming dangerously fast.

This drug relieves symptoms, improves quality of life, and reduces hospitalizations.

Side effects may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Your provider will have told you what dose of this medication to take, and how many times per day to take it. The label on your medication bottle should also indicate how many pills to take, and how often.

Over time, your provider may adjust your dose.

Make sure the dose you need to take matches the strength of the tablets in your bottle. If the strength of your tablet does not match the dose you have been prescribed, you may need to split the pill and have only part of it, or take more than one pill. Always remember to consult your provider if you are unclear about what your most recent dose of digoxin is.

You may take this medication with or without food.

Tell your provider if you experience side effects. He or she may be able to adjust your dose.

Monitor your symptoms. Too much digoxin can cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, or irregular heartbeat.

Too much digoxin in the blood can be dangerous. Your provider may recommend that you have regular blood tests to check your blood digoxin levels.

Your provider may also want to monitor your blood potassium levels and kidney function.

If you do not take this medication as directed, your symptoms may get worse and you may be more likely to be hospitalized for worsening heart failure.