Digoxin Side Effects, How it Works, Upsides & Downsides

Digoxin is an externally administered medication. It is sold under a number of brand names with Lanoxin being the most known one.


Digoxin chemically belongs to the group of cardiac glycosides. Its mode of action involves affecting certain minerals including sodium and potassium that are present inside the heart cells.

The medicine is used as a treatment for various heart conditions. Mostly, it is prescribed by physicians to help patients with atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and heart failure.

It may be used for other purposes not mentioned in this guide.


Side effects of Digoxin:   

Digoxin, just like other medicines, too has some side effects. These range from mild to severe and must be reported to the doctor.

Some of the common side effects that are considered to be mild in nature are as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea


Most of these side effects tend to occur at the start of the treatment and perish within a day or two as it does not take long for the body to adjust and get accustomed to the presence of the medicine. However, they may persist and start to worsen, triggering serious medical conditions. Therefore, seek medical help promptly if any side effect is experienced.


Some of the potential side effects it is known to cause include:

  • Breast enlargement
  • Vision problems
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swollen glands, etc.

Note that other side effects not listed in this guide may also be experienced. Usually, doctors and/or pharmacists inform the patients about the side effects they are likely to experience at the start of their treatment.

For further queries and concerns regarding this, you may consult your doctor and/or pharmacist.


How to use Digoxin

Before starting Digoxin, you are strongly advised to read the directions on the prescription label and follow them carefully.

The medicine is administered orally or intravenously. Usually, it is prescribed to be taken once a day. However, if your doctor directs you otherwise, then you are required to follow his/her instructions. Take timely and balanced doses and ensure you don’t miss out any dose.

You may take Digoxin with or without food. However, make sure to not take food high in fiber along with it as it would make it less effective; ensure a 2-hour gap between them.


Precautions to take when using Digoxin:

  • Neither use nor recommend it without the prescription of a doctor.
  • It may interact negatively with certain substances such as milk of magnesia, sulfasalazine, and antacids. Therefore, give the names of all the medicines and products, if any, that you use to your doctor as a safety measure.
  • It is not given in certain conditions. Thus, provide your medical history to your doctor to avoid any inconvenience.
  • Inform your doctor if you become pregnant or are nursing a baby as it may affect your infant.
  • Keep it away from children’s reach, heat, and moisture.