Digoxin Nursing Pharmacology NCLEX (Cardiac Glycosides)

Digoxin nursing pharmacology NCLEX (cardiac glycosides) review on the mechanism of action, nursing implications, teaching, and digoxin toxicity.

Digoxin is a cardiac glycoside that helps the heart pump efficiently. It does this by inhibiting the normal function of the sodium-potassium pump.

This will alter how the heart contracts. In addition, this medication alters the rate of how fast/slow the heart beats and how fast/slow the impulses are conduction through the electrical conduction system.

Therefore, Digoxin creates the following actions on the heart: positive inotropic, negative chronotropic, and negative dromotropic actions

All of these actions together cause the heart to empty more efficiently and increase stroke volume. This will in turn increase cardiac output.

Digoxin nursing implications include: monitor for Digoxin toxicity (nausea, vomiting, anorexia, yellow-greenish halos in vision, and dysrhythmias), Digoxin toxicity can be caused from a low potassium level, high calcium level, or low magnesium level, the nurse also wants to measure the apical pulse for one full minute prior to administration

Teaching for this drug includes: how to monitor for toxicity, diet high in potassium if the patient if they are on a potassium-wasting drug, how to count the heart rate etc.



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Digoxin is a medication that belongs to the group of cardiac glycosides. It is commonly used in the treatment of heart failure and certain cardiac arrhythmias. As a nursing student, it is important to have a thorough understanding of digoxin pharmacology, its mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, adverse effects, and nursing considerations.

Digoxin works by inhibiting the Na+/K+ ATPase pump in cardiac cells, leading to an increase in intracellular sodium and calcium concentrations. This results in increased contractility and a decrease in heart rate, making it an effective medication for patients with heart failure or atrial fibrillation.

The main indications for digoxin include heart failure and atrial fibrillation. It is important to note that digoxin is contraindicated in patients with ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, or severe heart block. Adverse effects of digoxin may include nausea, vomiting, headache, visual disturbances, and arrhythmias. It is crucial for nurses to monitor patients receiving digoxin closely, including monitoring electrolyte levels, heart rate, and blood pressure.

In conclusion, understanding digoxin pharmacology is essential for nursing students to provide safe and effective care to patients receiving this medication. By having a comprehensive understanding of the drug, its indications, contraindications, and potential adverse effects, nurses can help ensure positive patient outcomes.


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