If you have congestive heart failure (CHF) or a type of irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, you may benefit from digoxin (Lanoxin®). It is only available with a prescription and comes as a tablet, an injection, or as an oral liquid (elixir).
Digoxin belongs to a class of drugs called cardiac glycosides or digitalis glycosides. Digitalis medications, such as digoxin, are extracted from the digitalis plant (more commonly known as foxglove).
Digoxin works by blocking an enzyme in the body called sodium-potassium ATPase. 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.
(Click Digoxin for a complete look at how this drug is classified and how it works to improve the efficiency of the heart. This Web resource also provides detailed information on potential side effects, dosing guidelines, and safety precautions.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed February 18, 2011.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed February 18, 2011.
Digoxin. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2011. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed February 18, 2011.
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