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Discharge Instructions: Taking Digoxin

Your doctor prescribed a digoxin for you. Digoxin helps slow your heartbeat. It also strengthens the heart muscle so that it pumps better. Take your medication as directed by your doctor. Use the tips below to remind you what to do.

The name for my digoxin is ____________________________________________.

Guidelines for Use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your doctor if you:

    • Have kidney disease

    • Have thyroid disease

    • Are taking any other heart medication

  • Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including any over-the-counter or herbal remedies. Some medications can cause serious side effects when combined with digoxin.

  • Don’t stop taking digoxin unless your doctor tells you to. This could cause serious problems.

  • Learn to take your own pulse.

  • Check your pulse before you take your digoxin. If your pulse is lower than 60 beats per minute, wait 5 minutes and then check it again.

    • If your pulse is still below 55 beats per minute, call your doctor.

    • If your pulse is above 55 beats per minute after 5 minutes, take your digoxin .

  • Take digoxin exactly as directed. If you don’t understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

  • Take each dose with a full glass of water.

  • Try to take digoxin at the same time every day.

  • Don’t stop taking digoxin without talking with your doctor. Stopping suddenly could make your condition worse. Even if you feel better, you may need to keep taking this medication to help your heart work properly.

  • Make sure you always have enough digoxin on hand for vacations and holidays.

  • Keep all appointments for laboratory work. Your doctor may want to monitor the amount of medication in your body.

  • If you miss a dose of digoxin, you may take it up to 12 hours late. If more than 12 hours have passed, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Don’t take a double dose.

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medication until your doctor tells you to. Mild side effects include:

  • Decreased appetite

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Depression

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Enlarged breasts in males

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Closing of your throat

  • Swelling of your lips, tongue, or face

  • Hives

  • Severe headache

  • Fainting

  • Extreme drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Irregular heartbeats

  • Slow heartbeat (lower than 55 beats per minute)

  • Abnormally fast heartbeat (higher than 100 beats per minute)

  • Vision changes (yellow-green vision, blurred vision, or seeing “halos”)

  • Hallucinations



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