Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Heart Failure Cardiac Glycosides

Cardiac glycosides are a group of medications that can improve the pumping ability of the heart. Options include digoxin and digitoxin.

Digoxin may decrease symptoms and increase exercise tolerance in some congestive heart failure patients. These drugs work by helping the heart to contract more forcefully. They help clear excess fluid from the lungs and eliminate salt from the body.

Cardiac glycosides can be very effective but must be closely regulated. It can easily cause side effects and toxicity. Blood levels are routinely measured to make sure they remain within a normal level.

Continue to Heart Failure Diuretics

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Heart Failure References
  1. Bibbins-Domingo K, Lin F, Vittinghoff E, Barrett-Connor E, Hulley SB, Grady D, Shlipak MG. Predictors of heart failure among women with coronary disease. Circulation. 2004 Sep 14;110(11):1424-30. [1535349]
  2. Chen QM, Tu VC. Apoptosis and heart failure: mechanisms and therapeutic implications. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2002;2(1):43-57. [14727998]
  3. Ebinger MW, Krishnan S, Schuger CD. Mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmias in heart failure. Curr Heart Fail Rep. 2005 Sep;2(3):111-7. [16138946]
  4. Mitchell J, Taylor A. Congestive heart failure in women. J Fam Pract. 2005 Jul;Suppl:6-7. [16134558]
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