Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Digoxin

Digoxin

Last updated on 21/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Digoxin 

CHINESE NAME: 地高辛

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Lanoxin 

DRUG CLASS: Antiarrhythmic agent; Cardiac glycoside 

USED FOR: Irregular heartbeats, heart failure  

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: N/A

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS:
– 0.25mg, 0.0625mg (tablets)
– 0.5mg/2ml (injections)
– 0.05mg/ml (elixir)

What is Digoxin for?

Digoxin belongs to a class of medications called cardiac glycosides which can increase the contraction force of the heart and reduce the heart rate. Digoxin is used for irregular heart rhythms (e.g., atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter) and for the treatment of heart failure.

How to use it?

Digoxin can be taken orally or by intravenous infusion. Usual adult maintenance dosage for Digoxin ranges from 62.5 to 250 micrograms (0.0625 to 0.250 mg) taken once daily. Lower dosage may be used in older people or people with reduced kidney function. Your doctor may adjust the dosage of Digoxin based on your Digoxin blood levels. For this reason it is important to take Digoxin at the same time every day, and confirm with your doctor at what time you should test your Digoxin blood levels (blood levels are drawn before the daily dose).

What are the side effects of Digoxin?

Digoxin has a narrow range of safe blood levels. If you experience side effects it is important to check with your doctor to ensure you are on the correct dose, as Digoxin toxicity can cause life-threatening irregular heart rhythms.  Other side effects of Digoxin include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, confusion and visual disorders.

Who should not take Digoxin?

– People who are allergic to digoxin or any ingredient of the formulation
– Patients with pericarditis, cardiomyopathy, heart block, myocarditis, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, ventricular fibrillation or fast heart rate 

Pharmacist Tips:

Patients with a low body weight, poor kidney function, low blood level of potassium or magnesium, high blood level of calcium, or at old age are at higher risk for digoxin toxicity. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, changes in vision and loss of appetite.

Common dosing schedule:
You can take Digoxin with or without food. However, avoid meals rich in fiber or pectin (e.g. apples, oranges, bananas, peas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes). Otherwise, take digoxin 1 hour before or 2 hours after such meals. 

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Digoxin may interact with:
Amiodarone
– Antibiotics, e.g. Clarithromycin, Rifampicin
– Antifungals, e.g. Itraconazole, Posaconazole
Colchicine 
– Corticosteroids, e.g. Beclometasone, Dexamethasone
– Diuretics, e.g. Frusemide, Hydrochlorothiazide
Ephedrine
– Medicines for high blood pressure, e.g. Carvedilol, Verapamil

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Digoxin in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Digoxin is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk/

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Digoxin in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.