According to the Mayo Clinic, the drug digoxin is used to treat heart problems. This incredibly powerful drug can improve the strength and efficiency of the heart as well as the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. This has a number of benefits to patients. It can improve blood circulation and may reduce swelling in the hands and feet of patients. Like any other drug, however, there are potential side effects from the use of digoxin.
Forms of dosage
The Mayo Clinic states that digoxin should only be administered orally or intravenously. Orally, it is available in four forms: a tablet, a liquid-filled capsule, a solution and an elixir. Intravenously, it may be administered as a solution or in an injectable form. In all cases, digoxin is only available with a doctor's prescription.
Common side effects
Digoxin patients commonly experience a number of side effects. Patients often experience dizziness, which in some cases may result in fainting. Unsurprisingly, the drug may also have an effect on the patient's heartbeat by either slowing it down or increasing it. It is also relatively common for the heartbeat to become irregular as a result of taking the drug.
Rare side effects
A number of more serious side effects can occur in digoxin patients, but these are relatively rare. Some patients have dark-colored stools or blood in the urine and stools as a result of the drug. It is also possible to have unusual bleeding, bruising or bloody vomit. Sometimes patients experience severe stomach pain. There are also some external symptoms, such as red spots on the skin or a rash with small, flat or raised lesions on the skin.
Other side effects
There are a number of other side effects associated with digoxin for which the frequency is not currently known. This is due to the fact that there is not enough data to draw a conclusion and because studies are still under way. These symptoms include respiratory side effects, such as shortness of breath, chest pain and difficulty breathing. There may also be swelling of the feet and lower legs, as well as an unusual level of tiredness or weakness.
What to do about these symptoms
If you are prescribed digoxin and experience any of these side effects, it is advisable to speak to your doctor. Some of these symptoms may not require any medical attention, but your doctor may be able to advise you about simple ways that you can prevent these side effects from occurring. Other side effects could be potentially dangerous and will require further treatment. In all cases, consult your doctor to allow him or her to give you the appropriate guidance.