Generic name: DigoxinBrand names: Digitek, Lanoxin
Lanoxin is used in the treatment of congestive heart failure, certain types of irregular heartbeat, and other heart problems. It improves the strength and efficiency of your heart, which leads to better circulation of blood and reduction of the uncomfortable swelling that is common in people with congestive heart failure. Lanoxin is usually prescribed along with a water pill (to help relieve swelling) and a drug called an ACE inhibitor (to further improve circulation). It belongs to a class of drugs known as digitalis glycosides.
You should not stop taking Lanoxin without first consulting your doctor. A sudden absence of the drug could cause a serious change in your heart function. You will probably have to take Lanoxin for a long time—possibly for the rest of your life.
Lanoxin usually is taken once daily. To help you remember your dose, try to take it at the same time every day, for instance when brushing your teeth in the morning or going to bed at night.
Lanoxin is available in tablet, capsule, liquid, and injectable forms. If you are taking the liquid form, use the specially marked dropper that comes with it.
It's best to take this medicine on an empty stomach. However, if this upsets your stomach, you can take Lanoxin with food.
Avoid taking this medicine with high-bran/high-fiber foods, such as certain breakfast cereals.
Do not change from one brand of Lanoxin to another without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse rate while taking Lanoxin. Slowing or quickening of your pulse could mean you are developing side effects to your prescribed dose. The amount of Lanoxin needed to help most people is very close to the amount that could cause serious problems from overdose, so monitoring your pulse can be very important.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Lanoxin.
If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Lanoxin or other digitalis preparations, you should not take Lanoxin. Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced.
Lanoxin should not be taken by people with the heart irregularity known as ventricular fibrillation.
Lanoxin should not be used, alone or with other drugs, for weight reduction. It can cause irregular heartbeat and other dangerous, even fatal, reactions.
Your doctor will prescribe Lanoxin with caution—if at all—in the presence of certain heart disorders, including sinus node disease, AV block, certain disorders of the left ventricle, and "Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome." Caution is also advised if you have poor kidneys, a thyroid disorder, or an imbalance in your calcium, potassium, or magnesium levels.
Tell the doctor that you are taking Lanoxin if you have a medical emergency and before you have surgery or dental treatment.
Even if you have no symptoms, do not change your dose or discontinue the use of Lanoxin before consulting with your doctor.
In general, you should avoid nonprescription medicines, such as antacids; laxatives; cough, cold, and allergy remedies; and diet aids, except on professional advice.
If Lanoxin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either can be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Lanoxin with the following:Airway-opening drugs such as albuterolAlprazolamAmilorideAmiodaroneAntacidsAntibiotics such as neomycin, tetracycline, erythromycin, and clarithromycinBeta-blocking blood pressure drugs such as atenolol and propranololCalciumCalcium-blocking blood pressure drugs such as verapamil, diltiazem, and nifedipineCertain anticancer drugsCholestyramineColestipolCyclosporineDiphenoxylateDisopyramideHeartbeat-regulating drugs such as quinidineIndomethacinItraconazoleKaolin-pectinMetoclopramidePropafenonePropanthelineRifampinSpironolactoneSteroids such as dexamethasone and prednisoneSuccinylcholineSucralfateSulfasalazineThyroid hormones such as levothyroxineWater pills such as furosemide
The effects of Lanoxin during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Lanoxin appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If Lanoxin is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding.
Your doctor will determine your dosage based on several factors: (1) the disease being treated; (2) your body weight; (3) your kidney function; (4) your age; and (5) other diseases you have or drugs you are taking.
If you are receiving Lanoxin for the first time, you may be rapidly "digitalized" (a larger first dose may be taken, followed by smaller maintenance doses), or gradually "digitalized" (maintenance doses only), depending on your doctor's recommendation.
If your doctor feels you need rapid digitalization, your first few doses may be given intravenously. You'll then be switched to tablets or capsules for long-term maintenance. A typical maintenance dose might be a 0.125 milligram or 0.25 milligram tablet once daily, but individual requirements vary widely. The exact dose will be determined by your doctor, based on your needs.
Infants and young children usually have their daily dose divided into smaller doses; children over age 10 need adult dosages in proportion to body weight as determined by your doctor.
Suspected overdoses of Lanoxin must be treated immediately; you should contact your doctor or emergency room without delay.
In infants and children, irregular heartbeat is the most common sign of overdose.