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Digoxin, also known as digitalis, is a powerful, toxic medication used in the treatment of certain heart disorders, generally those that involve fluttering or other random activity in the heart muscles. It takes its name from the plant Digitalis lanata, commonly known as foxglove.

Digoxin works by temporarily strengthening the contractions of the muscles of the heart. In most cases, this slows the heart rate and brings the fibrillating muscles back into normal heart rhythm.

Although digoxin can be given intravenously, it is usually taken orally. Because the drug is rapidly absorbed into the body, the effect of the drug is not delayed for long.

Digoxin is generally a drug of last resort. It has a number of serious side effects such as anorexia, nausea, vomitting, diarrhea, vision problems, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness and heightened senses. It also interacts with many other medicines, particularly epinephrine. It is also quite toxic and an overdose can kill immediately, or it can build up in the body, poisoning it slowly. It is often chosen as a method of killing by medical professionals because it is fast acting and difficult to detect.

In Sports MedicineHank Wiggen tries to kill himself by swallowing a friend's digoxin.

Digoxin at NIH

Digoxin at Wikipedia

Digoxin at Mayo Clinic

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