Digoxin is a medication derived from leaves of a plant called foxglove. Although commonly used in humans, in the wild it’s poisonous to livestock, and in the garden it’s poisonous to household pets.

Digoxin is a medication that makes the heart beat slower and stronger. It’s used to treat both atrial fibrillation (a rhythm disorder) and congestive heart failure. It should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor, at the same time every day, and with a full glass of water.

Overdose symptoms to be aware of are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, blurred vision, seeing halos around lights or objects, severe skin rash, fast/slow or uneven heartbeats, and feeling like you might pass out. It is possible to overdose over time requiring a dose change. A blood test can easily tell if your level is too high.

Serious side effects requiring emergency help are: fast, slow or uneven heart rate; bloody or black, tarry stools; blurred vision or yellowed vision; confusions, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior.

Less serious side effects include mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; feeling weak or dizzy, headache; enlarged breasts in men, mild skin rash.

– Gail Stinson, RN is the Director of Health and Wellness for Harbor’s Edge. She will be contributing monthly with information about commonly used medications, and other helpful tips for living a healthy senior lifestyle.

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