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Cardiac glycosides (Digoxin)


What is this medication?

Digoxin is the common name for cardiac glycosides.

Digoxin includes:

  • Lanoxin®
  • Toloxin®

If your prescription isn’t listed, your pharmacist is the best source for more information.

What does it do?

You might take digoxin if you have a heart rhythm disorder, heart failure or a weakened heart muscle.

  • Helps your heart pump with more force.
  • Can slow your heart rate.
  • May help you feel less tired.
  • Reduces shortness of breath.
How do I take it?

Take your digoxin exactly as prescribed.

  • NEVER take extra tablets.
  • Can be taken with or without food.

Be aware: To see how much digoxin is in your body, your doctor may order a blood test.

Are there any interactions?

Some medications can stop your heart medicine from working properly. They may even cause other health problems.

Digoxin has many interactions, including:

  • Erythromycin and tetracycline (antibiotics)
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs (amiodarone)
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Over-the-counter antacids
  • Hawthorn (an herbal remedy)
  • Black licorice
    • Digoxin and black licorice can cause an irregular heartbeat.
  • Large amounts of oatmeal, milk and high-fibre cereals
    • These can interfere with the absorption of digoxin.

Tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the medications you are taking. These include:

  • Prescriptions
  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Inhalers
  • Creams or ointments
  • Over-the-counter or natural health products
  • Alternative therapies
  • Vitamins, minerals or supplements
  • Herbal remedies
  • Homeopathic medicines
  • Traditional remedies, such as Chinese medicines
Are there any side effects?

Digoxin can cause some side effects:

  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Major loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
    • You might see yellow, green or white spots around objects.

If you have side effects, talk to your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

Lifestyle changes that can also help

There are two ways to control and manage your heart health: medication and lifestyle.

Medication can help you control heart disease and high blood pressure, but it cannot cure it.

A healthy lifestyle can help you keep medication to a minimum.

Visit heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy.  Learn how to keep your heart healthy with current information and advice from Heart and Stroke Foundation experts.

Talk to your healthcare provider about the most beneficial lifestyle goals for you.

Resources

Your healthcare provider or pharmacist are your best sources of information. You can also learn more about medications at any of these trusted sites.

Health Canada - Drugs and Health Products
Provides health and medical information for Canadians to maintain and improve their health.

Learn more about:

Your ministry of health also offers health resources in your province or territory. For example, Ontario’s MedsCheck program provides free pharmacist consultations. And British Columbia’s Senior Healthcare web page provides information about important health programs.

Drug coverage