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What Is Involved in a Digoxin IV?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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A digoxin IV is an intravenously administered dose of the drug, digoxin, which is prescribed to treat congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and other heart problems. It is a type of drug called a cardiac glycoside, and it works by stabilizing the heartbeat and improving circulation. Before using any new prescription medication, patients should discuss the potential side effects and interactions with their doctors.

Patients will likely go to a hospital or clinic to receive a digoxin IV. Since a healthcare professional will administer the dose, an overdose of a digoxin IV is not likely to occur. The exact dosage will vary, depending on the patient's weight, age, and general health. Doctors may administer a larger dose to control the medical condition, and they may also administer smaller maintenance doses thereafter. While using this drug, patients should inform their doctors if they plan to undergo surgery or any medical tests.

Before receiving a digoxin IV, patients should disclose all of their other medical conditions for safety precautions. Women who are pregnant may require a smaller dose, while those who are breastfeeding should discuss the risks with their doctors. Certain medical conditions may contraindicate the use of a digoxin IV injection, such as specific types of heartbeat irregularities, some allergies, and low thyroid function. Lung or kidney diseases, low potassium levels, and high blood pressure may also preclude a person from using this medicine.

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Some side effects may occur while using a digoxin IV, which should be reported to the physician immediately. These can include painful or swollen breasts, unusual bruising or bleeding, and a skin rash. Patients should go to the emergency room if they experience lower abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting, as well as loss of appetite. Extreme fatigue, weakness, and drowsiness may also occur.

Other serious side effects that require a doctor's urgent care may include heart palpitations, fainting, and an unusually slow or rapid heartbeat. Some patients may notice visual disturbances, such as colored rings around objects. Confusion, headache, and diarrhea have also been reported.

A digoxin IV may interact with other medications. Patients must disclose their other drugs and supplements, such as St. John's wort, laxatives, and antacids. Cold or sinus medicines, appetite suppressants, and asthma medications may also interact with digoxin. Amphetamines, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics, as well as phenytoin, antibiotics, and certain drugs used to treat cholesterol may also result in an adverse interaction. In addition, patients should limit their alcohol use.

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