Taking Digoxin

Closeup of pads of first two fingers on inner wrist of opposite hand, just below thumb.

Digoxin helps slow your heartbeat. It also helps your heart beat stronger. Doctors usually use this treatment in heart failure or in atrial fibrillation. There may be other reasons your doctor prescribes digoxin. Take your medication as your doctor directs. Use the tips below as reminders.

Guidelines for taking digoxin

  • Take digoxin once a day. Try to take it at the same time each day.

  • Check your pulse before you take your digoxin. If your pulse is under 60 beats per minute, wait 5 minutes. Then check your pulse again. If it’s still under 60, call your healthcare provider. If your pulse is normal, take your digoxin.

  • Do not stop taking digoxin unless your healthcare provider tells you to. This could cause serious problems.

  • Review all prescription medications, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements with your doctor to ensure they do not interact with digoxin.

  • If you have a history of kidney problems, you may not be a good candidate for digoxin. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor.

If you miss a dose

  • If no more than 12 hours have passed from the time you usually take your digoxin, take it as soon as you remember. The next day, take it at the usual time.

  • If more than 12 hours have passed from the time you usually take your digoxin, don’t take that dose. The next day, take it at the usual time.

  • Never take more than one dose of digoxin at a time.

How to take your pulse

  • Place your first two fingers on the inside of your wrist, below the base of the thumb. Press lightly.

  • Count the number of beats for 1 full minute. A normal pulse is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider before you take your next dose of digoxin if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite

  • If you see light or halos around objects

  • Blurred or yellowed vision

  • Extreme fatigue

  • If your pulse becomes fast, irregular, or a pulse below 60 beats per minute

  • Chest pain, or pain that goes to the shoulder, neck, or jaw

  • Bloody or black stools

  • Drowsiness or confusion

  • Trouble breathing

  • Blurred or double vision, or you see green or yellow halos around lights

  • Swelling in your feet or ankles

  • Sudden weight gain