Among the various diseases that affect the human body, interruptions in the work of the heart have a special place. This is the main organ of the human body which pumps blood like a pump. If any circumstances lead to the weakening of cardiac activity, the heart ceases to cope with its function. Stroke volume of the pumped blood, and, consequently, the strength of cardiac contractions decreases, and the residual blood volume in the ventricles increases. Due to the impaired blood supply, the blood pressure increases, the pulse quickens. Such pathological changes provoke the stagnation of blood, palpitations, edema, shortness of breath, tissue hypoxia, enlargement of the liver. These symptoms reflect the presence of such diseases as congestive heart failure.
They use cardiac glycosides in order to restore the normal functioning of the vital organ in this disease. One of the drugs of this direction is Digoxin. The instructions for use describes this drug as a complex organic compound, which is made from a medicinal plant called the woolly Foxglove.
Digoxin action and effect
Positive inotropic effect is the main feature of this medication. Providing a heart tonic selective effect, Digoxin increases contraction of the heart muscle (myocardium). Under the influence of the drug, myocardium begins to receive more oxygen. In the result, the contractile activity of the heart muscle increases and heart rate slows down. If heart failure is accompanied by congestion, this remedy acts as a vasodilator. In addition, this drug has a mild diuretic effect, reducing swelling.
Primarily the indication for the use of Digoxin is congestive heart failure, including congestive phenomena. Also the drug is used in various manifestations of tachyarrhythmias – paroxysmal tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, atrial fibrillation.
Pharmaceutical companies produce this cardiac glycoside in tablet form. You should pay particular attention to the fact that the required dosage and duration course of treatment should be determined only by the cardiologist on the basis of the diagnosis and with the obligatory account of individual peculiarities of the patient. The fact is that tablets of Digoxin contain carefully measured quantity of the medicine. The drug may be administered for rapid saturation of myocardium medicine, and small maintenance dose for a more prolonged course of treatment. In particular, in case of short-term appointment it is not recommended to take the drug more than 3 days in a row. So self-medication is extremely dangerous. There were times when overdosed or incorrectly calculated dose caused cardiac arrest.
Digoxin contraindications include acute form of rheumatic heart disease, myocardial infarction, bradycardia, unstable angina, presence of heart blockages, cardiac glycoside intoxication.
In addition to contraindications, the drug may cause side effects. Sometimes there are changes (jumps) of a heart rhythm that is usually observed with an overdose of medication. There are possible loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. It happens that patients complain of fatigue, apathy, flies flashing before eyes, a violation of light perception (staining visible objects in the yellow-green or blue). The hematopoietic system may suffer from thrombocytopenia. Allergic rashes are too typical phenomenon when taking this remedy.
The patient should always exercise caution while taking the Digoxin. The instruction notes that the patient should follow all instructions of the attending doctor: take the medicine just at the appointed time without change of the dose; stop taking the medication when the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute.
In spite of vegetable origin, doctors try to use Digoxin for the treatment of patients mainly in hospitals. During the treatment process you should regularly monitor serum electrolyte balance (potassium and magnesium), electrocardiography.
Thus, Digoxin is an effective cardiac glycoside, but it is important to remember that self-medication with this drug is unacceptable.