Digitalis: Very powerful and potentially dangerous drug

Digitalis or digoxin is heart medication made from natural source which is used in treatment of heart disease. It is made from extract of foxglove plant that is known to contain toxic ingredients.

It is used in treatment of:

  • congestive heart failure
  • atrial arrhythmias

  • The drug works by strengthening the force of the heartbeat, by binding to sodium and potassium receptors, in the heart muscle. These receptors regulate the amount of calcium in the heart muscle. The drug binds to this receptors thereby preventing calcium from leaving the cell. The buildup of calcium in the cell of the heart muscles causes stronger heartbeats. This makes the drug very useful in treating heart failure.
  • In case of atrial arrhythmias, the drug reduces the number of signals that travel through the atrioventricular node. The less of this kind of signals, the fewer arrhythmias.

    Digitalis can be very toxic, if taken in large doses. On the other hand, a person can have normal levels of the drug in his or her's body but it can be very sensitive to it, which may also lead to side effects and toxicity symptoms.

    Toxicity symptoms:

    • Unusual visual changes
    • Irregular heart rate
    • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
    • Heart palpitations
    • Loss of appetite
    • Hallucinations, confusion
    • Fatigue, shortness of breath
    • Low or high urin output

    WARNING: Digitalis can interact with many other drugs such as diuretics, corticosteroids, thyroid medications, erythromycin-like drugs, cancer drugs, neomycin, quinidine, cyclosporine, amiodarone, acarbose and herbs such as Kava Kava, St. John's Wort and Passionflower.


    Blood test is the main tool for diagnosing toxicity. It is used to check digoxin and digitoxin levels in the blood. The test may also include checking potassium and magnesium levels in the blood. Low levels of these two minerals are associated with increased risk of drug's toxicity.

    Besides these two, the doctor may also preform regular blood test to get additional clues. Electrocardiogram is also used in diagnosis since ECG can detect irregular heart beats caused by the drug.


    Digitalis toxicity can cause arrhythmias and heart failure that may have deadly outcome. However, there are several treatments available, when dealing with this kind of problem.

    Main goal is to lower the amount of the drug in the body. If toxicity symptoms appeared shortly after taking it and you have been rushed to the hospital as soon as possible, then the doctors will insert a tube into your stomach in order to extract its content, including the drug.

    There is also avaible a treatment with activated charcoal, which is a powder decontaminant that is used to reduce absorption of poisonous substances and chemicals in the body.

    Hemodialysis and CPR are also used. Besides these techniques, there are few other treatments available whose use depends on a individual and its condition.


    Although it can be very useful in treating heart failure and atrial arrhythmia, the toxic side of it, makes it a very dangerous drug.

    If you take the medicine and toxicity sympotoms start to appear, let someone drive you to the hospital as soon as possible to avoid more serious consequences. Also talk to your doctor before taking any kind of drug or supplement with digitalis.

    Share this page:
    Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

    Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

    1. Click on the HTML link code below.
    2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.
    Heart Healthy Diet: Simple Tips and Guidelines
    Learn everything you need to know about heart healthy diet and find the right one for you. Implement few simple tips for immediate benefits.
    Heart Healthy Foods: How to Get the Most from Them
    Heart healthy foods can improve cardiovascular system function. Foods good for the heart are bursting with vitamins, minerals and rejuvenating phytochemicals.
    Herbs for the Heart and Cardiovascular System
    You have heard for hawthorn and garlic but there are few other herbs for the heart which can help in treating heart disease, naturally.
    The Best Heart Health Supplements
    Besides fish oil, there are several heart health supplements which can be useful. This includes Coenzyme Q10, Salicin, vitamin D3 and few others.
    Heart Healthy Spices
    Although there are many heart healthy spices out there, each of them can help prevent and treat heart disease in its own way, thanks to different types of flavonoids in these heart spices.
    Stress and Heart Disease: How are They Connected
    Stress and heart disease are closely related. In order to decrease the risk of heart problems, we have to learn how to handle the stress and treat its consequences, if we are unable to avoid it.
    Cardio Exercises for the Heart and Cardiovascular System
    Cardio exercises are vital part of natural heart disease treatment. However, which kind of heart exercise you should preform, varies from person to person.
    Good vs Bad Cholesterol: How to Improve Cholesterol Values
    Good vs bad cholesterol conflict is somewhat misunderstood. There is no good or bad cholesterol but only high or unbalanced cholesterol.
    Good Fats vs Bad Fats: Nutritional Facts and Guidelines
    What is the real truth when it comes to good fats vs bad fats? How much dietary fats should you consume daily and what are the best food sources of healthy fats?
    High Blood Pressure Remedies
    High blood pressure remedies range from tips and lifestyle modification to herbs and supplements. However, the method that works for someone else, may not work for you.
    Normal Heart Rate: How is Regulated and Influential Factors
    Normal heart rate varies from person to person. Although, age affects resting heart rate, there are many other factors that can raise or decrease heart rate.
    How to Lose Fat: Overlooked Tips for Weight Loss
    How to lose fat is surely one of the most intriguing questions for so many people. However, the answer is very simple. Eat healthy foods, perform fat burning exercises and take care of your hormones.
    Hormones and Heart Disease Connection
    Don't neglect hormones and heart disease connection. If you want to treat or prevent heart disease you have to balance your hormones.
    Heart Disease and Immune System Connection
    Heart disease and immune system connection is often overlooked, while trying to improve cardiovascular system function. However, there are several things you can do to change this.
    Dental Health Heart Disease Connection: Facts and Tips
    Dental health heart disease connection is one of three overlooked factors, along with hormones and immune system. However, with smart and effective approach we can change this.
    Causes of Heart Disease
    There are many causes of heart disease and factors that can increase or decrease your risk for developing heart related problems. Check how to turn the tide in your favour.
    Symptoms of Heart Disease
    There are few main symptoms of heart disease. Find out which are they, how to recognize them as well as my personal experience with some of them.
    Diagnosis of Heart Disease
    Accurate diagnosis of heart disease is the first step toward recovery. You can't start with treatment before you know what kind of disease you have, obviously.
    Treatment for Heart Disease: Medications and Surgeries
    Standard treatment for heart disease consists of surgeries, medications and devices. Which one is right for you, depends on your condition.
    Heart Disease Blog
    This is a blog about natural remedies, personal stories, helpful herbs and supplements, workout program as well as other tips and facts which may help people faced with heart disease.
    Contact Me
    Ask questions and leave comments about this site here.
    About the Author of Heart Health Guide
    About the author of website.
    Heart Health Guide Sitemap
    This is sitemap of Heart Health If you want to get better overview of informations on this website, you can get it here.

    Copyright © - Heart Health Guide - All Rights Reserved.

    About Author | Privacy Policy| Disclaimer / Disclosure | Contact

    Custom Search

    Adaptogens & Superfoods

    Omega 3 fatty acids from krill and fish oil with Sesame Lignans, Olive Extract & Astaxanthin

    Hawthorn Extract - min 1,8 % Vitexin