Digoxin And Potassium Level: What Should I Avoid? | Does Digoxin Toxicity Cause Hypokalemia?

Digoxin is a type of drug called cardiac glycoside. It’s used to control some heart problems, such as irregular heartbeats, including atrial fibrillation.

It can also help to manage the symptoms of heart failure

Digoxin is only available by doctor’s prescription. It comes in tablets and liquid forms. It is also given as an injection.

Table of Contents

Uses of digoxin

The uses of digoxin include the following:

  • Digoxin helps to treat heart failure, usually along with other medicines.
  • It is also used to treat irregular heartbeat, including chronic atrial fibrillation. 
  • Treating heart failure may help to improve your ability to walk and exercise and improve your heart’s strength. 
  • Digoxin reduces strain on the heart and helps it maintain a normal, steady, and strong heartbeat.

How to use digoxin?

You can take this medication directly by mouth with or without food, usually once a day or as instructed by your doctor. If you are consuming the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose by the dropper. Do not use a spoon or other household things because you may not get the correct dose.

Your body may not absorb this drug if you eat foods high in fiber or on certain medications. Therefore, take this medication 2 hours before or after having a meal. If you take cholestyramine, colestipol, or psyllium, wait for 2 hours after taking your digoxin dose. 

Take antacids, kaolin-pectin, metoclopramide, sulfasalazine, or aminosalicylic acid as far apart from your digoxin dose as possible. Ask your pharmacologist if you are not sure when to take any of your medications.

Digoxin and potassium level

Digoxin toxicity causes hyperkalemia or high potassium. This is because the potassium ATPase pump normally causes sodium to leave cells and potassium to enter cells. Therefore, blocking this device results in higher serum potassium levels.

Digoxin toxicity hypokalemia

In hypokalemia or low potassium, digoxin toxicity worsened because digoxin normally binds to the ATPase pump on the same site as potassium with the inhibitory effects; digoxin can bind to the ATPase pump more easily when potassium levels are low.

Dosage

Dosage form and strength

For adults

Oral solution: 0.05mg/mL

Injectable solution:

  • 0.1mg/mL
  • 0.25mg/mL

Tablet: 

  • 0.0625mg (Lanoxin only)
  • 0.125mg
  • 0.1875mg (Lanoxin only)
  • 0.25mg

For children (0-18 age)

Oral solution: 0.05mg/mL

Injectable solution:

  • 0.1mg/mL
  • 0.25mg/mL

Tablet:

  • 0.125mg
  • 0.25mg

Signs of digoxin toxicity

If any of these symptoms persist, speak to your doctor

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this drug because they have judged that your benefit is greater than the risk of side effects. In conclusion, many people do not have serious side effects.

Inform your doctor right away if any of these serious side effects occur:

  • Weakness
  • Mental/mood changes
  • Vision changes
  • Enlarged/tender breasts in men

Call your doctor on an emergency basis if you notice any unusual heartbeat.

A very severe allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, ask for medical attention immediately if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including rash, itching or swelling, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of digoxin side effects. If you notice other side effects that are not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

What should I avoid while using digoxin?

Avoid becoming overheated in hot weather or dehydrated by not drinking enough liquids. Digoxin overdose can occur easily if you are dehydrated or overheated.

Conclusion

Remember, keep your medicines out of the reach of children, do not share your medicines with others, and use digoxin only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your doctor to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your circumstances.

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