Digitalis Medication

08 Jul 2010
Posted by namratha

Digitalis is a drug that is derived from the foxglove plant. The effects of the plant extract on  heart were first observed in the late eighteenth century by William Withering. Digitalis is a medication prescribed to patients with certain heart problems. It has been illustrated in the medicine literature for decades.

 digitalis folium
Uses of Digitalis  
The digitalis drugs come in many forms, depending upon their chemical structure. Digitalis medication has numerous uses. It helps to strengthen the contraction of  heart muscle. It also helps to slow down  heart rate and thereby helps to remove the fluid from  body tissues.  Digitalis medicines, when used strengthen the force of the heartbeat by increasing the amount of calcium in  heart cells and thus help to regulate  heartbeat. It is also widely used to treat congestive heart failure (CHF) and also certain arrhythmias. 
Precautionary Measures to be Taken
Now that we have seen so many uses of digitalis, there are certain things that need to be taken care of, if you are under digitalis medication. It is very important to know how a medication can cause some effects when you start the medication. Similarly, it is equally important to know that there is a high possibility of the medications creating adverse effects even when you stop taking it. Yes, it is true and therefore never stop taking digitalis medications without prior consultation with your doctor. This is, in order to avoid conditions getting even worse. Be sure not to take digitalis a few hours before or after eating something high in fibre. This is because the food that is rich in fibre may decrease the absorption of digitalis. Overall, make sure to discuss the precautionary measures that need to be taken.  
Side effects of Digitalis

Each medication tends to bear some side effects. One can get over it once their body gets adjusted to the medication. There are certain side effects observed when consuming digitalis too. The best solution to this is to try to take this medication the way it has been actually prescribed by your doctor. Avoid taking digitalis medication on empty stomach because if  taken on an empty stomach, it leads to irritation in the stomach. Other side effects are drowsiness, diarrhoea, headache, muscle weakness, fatigue, and loss of appetite. There are even cases where people under digitalis medication  developed certain side effects like hallucinations, depression, blurred vision, irregular heartbeat, rashes on the skin, and even severe stomach related problems.   
However cases of undesirable drug side effects are common. If at all these side effects are noticed then it is always advisable to consult your doctor. Though there are some drawbacks, we cannot deny the fact that digitalis has undoubtedly emerged as a boon to so many heart patients around the world.