When To Hold Digoxin? | Does Digoxin Lower Heart Rate?

Digoxin is one of the most beloved cardiovascular medications used today. It is used to manage atrial fibrillation and the symptoms of heart failure.

This drug founds in the foxglove plant, also known as the Digitalis plant. Digoxin is one of the first to prescribe cardiac glycosides. Digoxin is classified as a cardiac glycoside and was approved by FDA in 1954.

I have already shared a post related to this topic Digoxin And Potassium Level I hope you read this post.

Table of Contents

Indication of digoxin

Digoxin is indicated in the following conditions: 

  • To the treatment of mild to moderate heart failure in adults.
  • To increase myocardial contraction in children with heart failure. 
  • To maintain ventricular control rate in adult patients diagnosed with chronic atrial fibrillation.

To learn more, you can read: Congestive Heart Failure Prognosis

How should I use digoxin?

Use digoxin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions and medication guides or instructions. Try to take oral digoxin every day.

To carefully measure liquid medicine, use the dosing syringe or a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Take digoxin regularly even if you have no symptoms or you feel fine. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Who should not use this medicine?

You should not use digoxin medication if you are allergic to it or if you ever had ventricular fibrillation.

To ensure that digoxin is safe for you, Inform your doctor if you have ever had:

  • A serious heart condition such as
  • A heart attack
  • Slow heartbeats
  • Sudden fast heartbeats
  • Kidney disease
  • An electrolyte imbalance
  • A thyroid
  • If you have vomiting or diarrhea.

I also wrote a tutorial on What is Ventricular Septal Defect murmur? that you can follow.

Inform your doctor if you are in the pregnancy phase because digoxin can harm your unborn baby. However, having heart failure during pregnancy might cause complications such as premature birth or low birth weight or the risk of death in both mother and baby. 

Therefore, the benefit of treating heart problems with digoxin may outweigh any risks to the baby.

It cannot be safe to breastfeed while using digoxin. Ask your doctor about any risks.

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When to hold digoxin?

Hold the digoxin dose if the pulse rate is <60 bpm in an adult, <70 bpm in a child, or <90 bpm in an infant. Notify health care professionals promptly of any significant changes in the pulse’s rate, rhythm, or quality.

Does digoxin lower heart rate?

Digoxin is used to maintain an irregular heartbeat. This can cause by a heart problem such as atrial fibrillation. Digoxin helps by slowing down the heart beat and lower the heart rate.

Must read: When To Go To The Hospital For Rapid Heart Rate? 

Digoxin side effects

Get emergency help if you have an allergic reaction to digoxin.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • Allergic reaction on hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • fast, slow, or uneven heart rate
  • A light-headed feeling
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • Confusion, weakness, hallucinations, unusual thoughts, or behavior
  • Breast swelling or tenderness
  • Blurred vision, yellowed vision; or
  • Stomach pain, weight loss, growth delay, behavior changes

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Serious side effects can be more likely in aged people and those who are ill or debilitated.

This is not a complete list of digoxin side effects; a person may also experience other symptoms. Speak to your doctor for medical guidance about side effects.

Frequently Asked Question

When to hold digoxin heart rate?

Monitor apical pulse for 1 full min before administering. Withhold dose and notify health care professional if the pulse rate is <60 bpm in an adult, <70 bpm in a child, or <90 bpm in an infant. Notify health care professionals promptly of any significant changes in the rate, rhythm, or quality of the pulse.

Why is digoxin so dangerous?

It can narrow your blood vessels and cause inflammation. For people with kidney disease: Digoxin is cleared from your body by your kidneys. If your kidneys don’t work well, the drug may build up to dangerous levels. Your digoxin dosage should be decreased if you have kidney problems.

When not to take digoxin?

Digoxin is not suitable for some people with certain types of arrhythmia (such as ventricular fibrillation or WPW syndrome and pre-excited atrial fibrillation) and with some other types of cardiac disease, such as myocarditis or substantial sinus or AV block unless a pacemaker is present.

Does digoxin cause sleepiness?

Digoxin oral tablet does not cause drowsiness. However, it can cause other side effects.

Why is digoxin a high-risk medication?

Digoxin is a high-alert medication because of its narrow therapeutic range and high drug-to-drug interactions (DDIs). Approximately 50% of digoxin toxicity cases are preventable, which motivated us to improve the treatment outcomes of digoxin.


Tell your doctor when you usually take digoxin. Your doctor can suggest you wait for your dose, or they may schedule your appointment to get the best treatment for your condition.

Which medications do you use to treat yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

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