What Is Digoxin Used For?

How Does This Medication Work?

Digoxin works by blocking sodium-potassium ATPase, an enzyme in the body that controls the amount of sodium and potassium that enters cells. Blocking sodium-potassium ATPase leads to an increase in the amount of calcium and potassium inside heart cells. This helps the heart contract more forcefully with each heartbeat, making it more efficient at pumping blood throughout the body. It also slows down the rate at which the heart beats.

Can Children Use It?

Digoxin is approved for use in children, including premature infants, infants, and newborns. Premature infants may be especially sensitive to the effects of this medication. Doses are highly individualized in infants, usually based on the infant's body weight.

Can Older Adults Use It?

Yes -- digoxin is commonly used in older adults because this age group is more likely to develop congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation. However, older people may be more sensitive to this medication, so they are usually given lower doses.

Off-Label Uses of Digoxin

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend digoxin for uses other than the ones discussed in this article. This is called an "off-label" use. Some off-label uses for digoxin may include:
  • Use after a myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack)
  • Treating certain complications of ventricular septal defects (a type of heart defect)
  • Treating other types of heart arrhythmias.
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Digoxin Drug Information

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