Digoxin is made from the digitalis plant and is classified as an inotrope/pressor. Any inotrope or pressor is used in lowering blood pressure. Therefore great care must be made with use of other high blood pressure medication. In this case it is used in controlling the fast heart rate in Atrial Fibrillation to a slower rate. It is not actually used to convert a rhythm, but to actually control it or slow it down. When your heart rate is going very fast say around 120 beats per minute it is like you’re working out, eventually you are going to get tired. So we can use it to slow the rate down so you’re not feeling like your working out. Therefore you will have more energy for more important tasks.
It is important to discuss with your doctor the use of this medication if you have an AV block, a recent heart attack, kidney disease or a thyroid disease. These diseases may make your condition worse by affecting the electrical system of the heart or not allow the medicine to be removed fast enough before the next dose is swallowed. If this happens you may be prone to getting digoxin toxicity. A condition that makes your heart severely low and may make you dizzy and pass out.
It is important to keep taking your medication as prescribed and DO NOT stop suddenly doing so may make your condition worse. Make sure you renew your medication 3 to 5 days prior to the end of prescription to make sure you do not run out.
Usually this medication is taken once per day and if you miss a dose DO NOT double the next dose. Just take as soon as you remember and adjust the time for the next by a couple of hours and slowly get back on schedule.
Be sure to call your doctor if you have the following: Fast, slow heart rate, bloody or black/tarry stools, blurred vision, confusion, hallucinations or unusual thoughts or behaviour.
Below are samples for easy identification.