Lanoxin is a “cardiac glycoside” medication that is prescribed to strengthen and regulate a weak heartbeat. With a valid Rx, you will receive Lanoxin or generic Digoxin in pill form that should be taken by mouth at the same time every day in order to maintain steady level of Digoxin in your body. You may also be instructed to make lifestyle changes such as increasing your physical activity, eating healthy foods, stop smoking, and losing weight if you are overweight. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Digoxin, the active ingredient in Lanoxin, is a form of digitalis, a drug that is extracted from the leaves of the foxglove plant. Digoxin works directly on the heart muscle. It slows down the rate at which the heart beats and also increases the force with which the heart muscle contracts with every heartbeat. This makes each heartbeat more efficient at pumping blood throughout your body.
Lanoxin is often prescribed to treat heartbeat irregularities associated with heart failure. The drug works by altering the sodium and potassium found within your heart cells, as these are known to affect heartbeat patterns. In doing so, it may also decrease your risk for related complications like blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
Digoxin is useful in treating abnormally rapid atrial rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and atrial tachycardia. Abnormally rapid atrial rhythms can be caused by heart attacks, excessive thyroid hormones, alcoholism, infections, and many other conditions. During rapid atrial rhythms, electrical signals from the atria cause rapid contractions of the ventricles. Rapid ventricular contractions are inefficient in pumping blood containing oxygen and nutrients to the body, causing symptoms of weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and even chest pain.
Ask your doctor if Lanoxin is safe to take if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or are breast feeding. Advise your physician if you have: kidney disease; thyroid disorder; electrolyte imbalance; recent heart attack; abnormal heart beats caused by Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Your body may not absorb Lanoxin as well if you also eat foods that are high in fiber. You should take Lanoxin at least 2 hours before or after eating food products that are high in fiber (such as bran or oatmeal).
Until you know how Lanoxin will affect you, avoid operating a vehicle or attempting any task that may be considered unsafe if your vision or balance is impaired. You should not take Lanoxin if you have ventricular fibrillation. Also, make sure to inform your physician if you have recently experienced vomiting or diarrhea. During treatment, it is important for you to stay adequately hydrated; drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous exercise that overheats or dehydrates you.
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these more serious side effects: uneven heart rate; blurred vision; unusual thoughts or behavior; bloody or black, tarry stools.