Generic Drug Name: Digoxin
Other Common Names: Lanoxin, Cardoxin
Digoxin is a cardiac glycoside that is primarily used for the treatment of congestive heart failure, supraventricular tachycardias, and atrial fibrillation or flutter. It is often administered with other drugs, and is very rarely used as the only form of treatment for heart failure conditions.
Cats suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy should not use digoxin, as it can increase myocardial oxygen demand, which can lead to other complications such as dynamic outflow obstruction. Patients with ventricular fibrillation or in digitalis intoxication should not use this drug. Caution should be used when administering digoxin to patients with glomerulonephritis and heart failure, and in patients with idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis.
Common adverse effects associated with digoxin are various types of cardiac arrhythmia, specifically, complete or incomplete heart block, ST segment changes, bigeminy, paroxysmal ventricular or atrial tachycardias with block, and multifocal premature ventricular contractions. Negative side effects generally seem to worsen symptoms of heart failure. Other possible negative side effects include mild GI upset, weight loss, anorexia, and diarrhea.
Digoxin should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if any of alarming symptoms occur or an overdose is known or suspected.
Digoxin should be kept at room temperature in a tight, light resistant, childproof container and should be carefully kept away from exposure to light. It should be stored where children and pets will not be able to reach it.
A typical dose of digoxin in dogs is .005-.011 mg/kg every 12 hours. Doses can go up to .22 mg/m2 every 12 hours. For cats, a normal dose is .007 mg/kg every other day. For horses, a starting dose is 11-44 micrograms/kg and 2.2 micrograms every 12 hours for maintenance. Should a dose be forgotten, it should be administered as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next scheduled dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the normally scheduled dose should be given. Two doses should not be administered at the same time.
Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.