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Cardiac Glycosides: Uses, Common Brands, and Safety Info

Cardiac glycosides are medications used to treat heart failure and irregular heart rhythms. Common brands include digoxin and digitoxin. Use these drugs with caution and under medical supervision to ensure safety and avoid interactions with other medications. Regular monitoring is essential to adjust dosages and detect any adverse effects.

Cardiac Glycosides

Cardiac glycosides are a class of medications commonly used in the treatment of various cardiovascular conditions. These medications work by improving the contractile strength of the heart muscle while also slowing down the heart rate. Cardiac glycosides have been used for many years and have proven to be effective in managing certain heart-related disorders. While numerous cardiac glycosides exist, some of the most commonly prescribed ones include digoxin, digitoxin, and ouabain.


Cardiac glycosides are primarily used in the management of heart failure, a condition where the heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood to meet the body's needs. By increasing the force of the heart's contractions, cardiac glycosides help improve the heart's pumping ability, leading to better blood circulation throughout the body. These medications are also used to control certain irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. By slowing down the heart rate and restoring a regular rhythm, cardiac glycosides can help reduce symptoms associated with these conditions, including palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Common Brands

Several pharmaceutical companies manufacture cardiac glycosides under various brand names. Digoxin is one of the most commonly prescribed cardiac glycosides and is available under the brand names Lanoxin, Digitek, and Digibind. Another well-known brand name for digoxin is Lanoxicaps, which are extended-release capsules. Other cardiac glycosides, such as digitoxin, are less commonly used today but can still be found in certain brand name formulations, including Crystodigin. Ouabain is not typically available as a brand name medication, but it may be used in certain clinical settings.


As with any medication, it is essential to use cardiac glycosides with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. These medications require careful monitoring, as the dosages need to be adjusted based on individual patient characteristics and response. Since cardiac glycosides can affect the electrical conduction in the heart, it is crucial to monitor heart function regularly through electrocardiograms (ECGs) and blood tests. This helps ensure that the medication is not causing any adverse effects or toxicity. It is essential to discuss potential drug interactions and side effects with your healthcare provider. Cardiac glycosides may interact with other medications, such as certain antibiotics and diuretics, so it is crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking. In summary, cardiac glycosides are a class of medications used to manage heart failure and certain irregular heart rhythms. They work by strengthening the heart's contractions and slowing down the heart rate. Commonly prescribed cardiac glycosides include digoxin, digitoxin, and ouabain. As with any medication, it is crucial to use them safely and under medical supervision to avoid potential complications or drug interactions.

List of Cardiac Glycosides