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Digoxin Toxicity, Ambulatory Care

Digoxin toxicity

happens when you have too much digoxin in your body and it becomes harmful. Digoxin is a medicine that is used to treat heart failure or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Digoxin toxicity can be life-threatening. The following can increase your risk for digoxin toxicity:

  • Older age
  • Certain medical conditions such as kidney disease, hypothyroidism, or heart disease
  • Low blood levels of potassium or magnesium
  • High blood levels of potassium or calcium
  • Use of herbal supplements that contain substances similar to digoxin
  • Use of medicines that interact with digoxin such as diuretics, calcium channel blockers, or other medicines that affect the way your heart beats

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Headache, confusion, anxiety, or hallucinations
  • Restlessness, weakness, or depression
  • Changes in vision such as blurred vision or seeing halos around bright objects
  • A fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat, or palpitations (fast, forceful heartbeats in an irregular rhythm)

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Headache, confusion, anxiety, or hallucinations
  • Restlessness, weakness, or depression
  • Any change in vision such as seeing halos around bright objects
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat, or palpitations (fast, forceful heartbeats in an irregular rhythm)

How to safely take digoxin:

  • Take digoxin exactly as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you miss a dose or you have any questions about how to take digoxin.
  • Do not stop taking digoxin. Follow your healthcare provider's directions. You may have increased irregular heartbeats if you stop taking digoxin.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before you take any herbal supplements. Some herbal supplements contain substances that act like digoxin and can cause toxicity.
  • Go to all your follow-up appointments. Your healthcare provider will need to monitor you closely while you are taking digoxin. You will need to have regular blood tests.

What else you can do to avoid digoxin toxicity:

Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you take digoxin. Ask where to get these items.

What you should do if you think you or someone you know took too much digoxin:

Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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