Pharmacology

Digoxin 💊

This medication is one of the BIG ones that you will see throughout your nursing career.

PURPOSE

  • Digoxin is used for heart failure 🖤
    • To sum it up, heart failure basically means the heart is not contracting enough, which means it is not pumping enough blood (the heart is failing) out
      • Digoxin helps the heart pump that blood by increasing the contractility. Think of digoxin as fuel for the heart. It is helping the heart gain strength to PUSH all that blood out
      • By helping the heart move that blood along, digoxin is also helping in circulation and perfusion (getting the blood where it needs to go)
      • Cardiac Output (CO) is increased when the heart pumps out more blood (More blood being pumped out = increased output!)
  • It is under the group of medications called GLYCOSIDES

DANGERS OF DIGOXIN

  • Digoxin has a narrow margin of safety 🔍
    • Narrow margin of safety: This means that a small change in the amount of digoxin in the body makes a big effect on the body
      • The amount of digoxin in the body should be watched carefully!
      • When we check the digoxin levels on patients, we want these normal levels to be between 0.5-2.0 ng/mL.
        • We must check digoxin levels prior to administering the next dose
        • 🚨 If digoxin levels are 2.0 or above, HOLD the medication and contact the healthcare provider!

SIGNS / SYMPTOMS OF DIGOXIN TOXICITY

  • For any signs and/or symptoms of toxicity, instruct the patient to hold the medication and contact the healthcare provider. These include:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Low heart rate (HR) ⬇️❤️

PATIENT TEACHING

  • Patients going home on digoxin should be given thorough instructions on when to take and when not to take their next dose of digoxin
  • Patients should be instructed to always check their heart rate for a full minute before they take their next dose of digoxin
    • If the patient’s heart rate (HR) is below 60 beats per minute (bpm), tell the patient to HOLD the next dosage
    • With an infant, hold when the heart rate is <90-100 beats per minute (bpm)
    • With an older child, hold when the heart rate is <70 beats per minute (bpm)
  • If a dose is missed, do not make try to make up for the missed dose. Just skip that dose and wait until the next dose is due
  • Any signs and symptoms of toxicity (nausea, vomiting, low HR) should be reported to the healthcare provider immediately

CLICK HERE for more information about Digoxin from the Mayo Clinic!

Have any questions?? Comment below! ⬇️

 

 

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