COMMON BRAND(S): Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin
GENERIC NAME(S): Agoxin
OTHER NAME(S): Agoxin Capsule
Agoxin is used to treat heart failure, usually along with other medications. It is also used to treat certain types of irregular heartbeat (such as chronic atrial fibrillation). Treating heart failure may help maintain your ability to walk and exercise and may improve the strength of your heart. Treating an irregular heartbeat can also improve your ability to exercise.
Agoxin belongs to a class of medications called cardiac glycosides. It works by affecting certain minerals (sodium and potassium) inside heart cells. This reduces strain on the heart and helps it maintain a normal, steady, and strong heartbeat.
Pharmacologic class: Cardiac glycoside
Therapeutic class: Inotropic, antiarrhythmic
Pregnancy risk category C
What is Agoxin, and how does it work?
- Agoxin increases the strength and efficiency of heart contractions, and is useful in the treatment of heart failure and control the rate and rhythm of the heart. It is extracted from the leaves of a plant called digitalis lanata. Agoxin increases the force of contraction of the muscle of the heart by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme (ATPase) that controls movement of calcium, sodium, and potassium into heart muscle. Calcium controls the force of contraction. Inhibiting ATPase increases calcium in heart muscle and therefore increases the force of heart contractions. Agoxin also slows electrical conduction between the atria and the ventricles of the heart and is useful in treating abnormally rapid atrial rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and atrial tachycardia. (Abnormally rapid atrial rhythms can be caused by heart attacks, excessive thyroid hormones, alcoholism, infections, and many other conditions.) During rapid atrial rhythms, electrical signals from the atria cause rapid contractions of the ventricles. Rapid ventricular contractions are inefficient in pumping blood containing oxygen and nutrients to the body, causing symptoms of weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and even chest pain. Agoxin alleviates these symptoms by blocking the electrical conduction between the atria and ventricles, thus slowing ventricular contractions.
- The FDA approved Agoxin in 1975.
As per ACCF/AHA guidelines, a loading dose to initiate Agoxin therapy in patients with heart failure is not necessary
0.125-0.25 mg PO/IV qDay; higher doses including 0.375-0.5 mg/day rarely needed
Use lower end of dosing (0.125 mg/day) in patients with impaired renal function or low lean body mass
Agoxin Use in the Elderly
Agoxin is considered safe to use in the elderly as long as the dose is no greater than 0.125 milligram (mg) or 125 mcg per day.
As we age, our kidney function changes and normally slows, so our bodies can't get rid of certain substances, like Agoxin, as quickly as they once could have.
Agoxin overdose symptoms in elderly are sometimes hard to pinpoint without running laboratory tests. Elderly people taking higher doses of Agoxin may become delirious or confused and feel weak or tired.
Can Agoxin cause problems?
Along with its useful effects, Agoxin can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. Many of the side-effects of Agoxin are similar to the effects you may experience if your dose is too high. Because of this, speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become severe.