Skip to Content

Generic Name: digoxin (oral) (di JOX in)
Brand Name: Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps, Cardoxin, Digitek

What is digoxin?

Digoxin is derived from the leaves of a digitalis plant. Digoxin helps make the heart beat stronger and with a more regular rhythm.

Digoxin is used to treat heart failure.

Digoxin is also used to treat atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder of the atrium (the upper chambers of the heart that allow blood to flow into the heart).

Digoxin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about digoxin?

You should not use digoxin if you have ventricular fibrillation (a heart rhythm disorder of the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart that allow blood to flow out of the heart).

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking digoxin?

You should not use digoxin if you are allergic to it, or if you have ventricular fibrillation (a heart rhythm disorder of the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart that allow blood to flow out of the heart).

To make sure digoxin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a serious heart condition such as "sick sinus syndrome" or "AV block" (unless you have a pacemaker);

  • a recent history of heart attack;

  • Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (sudden fast heartbeats);

  • kidney disease;

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of calcium, potassium, or magnesium in your blood);

  • if you are malnourished or have recently been sick with vomiting or diarrhea; or

  • if you take a diuretic (water pill), or use steroid medicine.

It is not known whether digoxin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Digoxin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take digoxin?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Try to take the medication at the same time every day.

Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

While using digoxin, you may need frequent blood tests. Your kidney function may also need to be checked.

Use digoxin regularly even if you feel fine or have no symptoms. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

You should not stop using digoxin suddenly. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if your next dose is less than 12 hours away. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of digoxin can be fatal.

What should I avoid while taking digoxin?

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise, in hot weather, or by not drinking enough fluids. Digoxin overdose can occur more easily if you are dehydrated.

Digoxin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;

  • fast, slow, or uneven heart rate;

  • bloody or black, tarry stools;

  • blurred vision, yellowed vision; or

  • confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior.

Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are ill or debilitated.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, diarrhea;

  • feeling weak or dizzy;

  • headache, weakness, anxiety, depression;

  • enlarged breasts in men; or

  • mild skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Digoxin dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Atrial Fibrillation:

Total loading dose: Administer one-half the total loading dose initially (all formulations), then give one-fourth the total loading dose every 6 to 8 hours for two doses (IV and tablets), or give additional fractions every 4 to 8 hours (oral solution).
-IV: 8 to 12 mcg/kg
-Tablets: 10 to 15 mcg/kg
-Oral solution: 10 to 15 mcg/kg

Maintenance dose:
-IV: 2.4 to 3.6 mcg/kg once a day
-Tablets: 3.4 to 5.1 mcg/kg once a day
-Oral solution: 3.0 to 4.5 mcg/kg once a day

Comments:
-IM administration is not recommended due to associated pain and muscle necrosis. If IM administration is required, no more than 500 mcg of the injectable formulation should be injected into a single site.
-If rapid titration is desired, initiate with a loading dose followed by maintenance dosing; otherwise, initiate with maintenance dosing without a loading dose.
-Maintenance dose may also be estimated by the following formula: Total maintenance dose = loading dose x (% daily loss/100). For recommended maintenance doses according to lean body weight and renal function and additional definitions regarding maintenance dose calculation, the manufacturer product information should be consulted.
-Reduce dose in patients whose lean weight is an abnormally small fraction of total body mass (e.g., obesity, edema).
-Doses may be increased every 2 weeks according to clinical response, serum drug levels, and toxicity.

Uses:
-Treatment of mild to moderate heart failure in adults. Where possible, this drug should be used in combination with a diuretic and an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.
-Control of ventricular response rate in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation.

Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:

Total loading dose: Administer one-half the total loading dose initially (all formulations), then give one-fourth the total loading dose every 6 to 8 hours for two doses (IV and tablets), or give additional fractions every 4 to 8 hours (oral solution).
-IV: 8 to 12 mcg/kg
-Tablets: 10 to 15 mcg/kg
-Oral solution: 10 to 15 mcg/kg

Maintenance dose:
-IV: 2.4 to 3.6 mcg/kg once a day
-Tablets: 3.4 to 5.1 mcg/kg once a day
-Oral solution: 3.0 to 4.5 mcg/kg once a day

Comments:
-IM administration is not recommended due to associated pain and muscle necrosis. If IM administration is required, no more than 500 mcg of the injectable formulation should be injected into a single site.
-If rapid titration is desired, initiate with a loading dose followed by maintenance dosing; otherwise, initiate with maintenance dosing without a loading dose.
-Maintenance dose may also be estimated by the following formula: Total maintenance dose = loading dose x (% daily loss/100). For recommended maintenance doses according to lean body weight and renal function and additional definitions regarding maintenance dose calculation, the manufacturer product information should be consulted.
-Reduce dose in patients whose lean weight is an abnormally small fraction of total body mass (e.g., obesity, edema).
-Doses may be increased every 2 weeks according to clinical response, serum drug levels, and toxicity.

Uses:
-Treatment of mild to moderate heart failure in adults. Where possible, this drug should be used in combination with a diuretic and an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.
-Control of ventricular response rate in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:

Total loading dose: Administer one-half the total loading dose initially (all formulations), then give one-fourth the total loading dose every 6 to 8 hours for two doses (IV and tablets), or give additional fractions every 4 to 8 hours (oral solution).
-Premature: IV: 15 to 25 mcg/kg; Oral solution: 20 to 30 mcg/kg
-Full-term: IV: 20 to 30 mcg/kg; Oral solution: 25 to 35 mcg/kg
-One month to 2 years: IV: 30 to 50 mcg/kg; Oral solution: 35 to 60 mcg/kg
-Two to five years: IV: 25 to 35 mcg/kg; Oral solution: 30 to 45 mcg/kg
-Five to ten years: IV: 15 to 30 mcg/kg; Oral solution: 20 to 35 mcg/kg; Tablets: 20 to 45 mcg/kg
-Greater than 10 to less than 18 years: IV: 8 to 12 mcg/kg; Oral solution: 10 to 15 mcg/kg; Tablets: 10 to 15 mcg/kg

Maintenance dose:
-Premature: IV: 1.9 to 3.1 mcg/kg twice a day; Oral solution: 2.3 to 3.9 mcg/kg twice a day
-Full-term: IV: 3 to 4.5 mcg/kg twice a day; Oral solution: 3.8 to 5.6 mcg/kg twice a day
-One month to 2 years: IV: 4.5 to 7.5 mcg/kg twice a day; Oral solution: 5.6 to 9.4 mcg/kg twice a day
-Two to five years: IV: 3.8 to 5.3 mcg/kg twice a day; Oral solution: 4.7 to 6.6 mcg/kg twice a day
-Five to ten years: IV: 2.3 to 4.5 mcg/kg twice a day; Oral solution: 2.8 to 5.6 mcg/kg twice a day; Tablets: 3.2 to 6.4 mcg/kg twice a day
-Greater than 10 to less than 18 years: IV: 2.4 to 3.6 mcg/kg once a day; Oral solution: 3 to 4.5 mcg/kg once a day; Tablets: 3.4 to 5.1 mcg/kg once a day

Comments:
-IM administration is not recommended due to associated pain and muscle necrosis. If IM administration is required, no more than 200 mcg of the injectable formulation should be injected into a single site.
-If rapid titration is desired, initiate with a loading dose followed by maintenance dosing; otherwise, initiate with maintenance dosing without a loading dose.
-Maintenance dose may also be estimated by the following formula: Total maintenance dose = loading dose x (% daily loss/100). For recommended maintenance doses according to lean body weight and renal function and additional definitions regarding maintenance dose calculation, the manufacturer product information should be consulted.
-Reduce dose in patients whose lean weight is an abnormally small fraction of total body mass (e.g., obesity, edema).
-Doses may be increased every 2 weeks according to clinical response, serum drug levels, and toxicity.

Use: To increase myocardial contractility in patients with heart failure.

What other drugs will affect digoxin?

Other drugs may interact with digoxin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about digoxin.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.04.

Date modified: February 03, 2017
Last reviewed: August 31, 2015

Hide