In the last blog, I briefly discussed Digitek. The active ingredient in Digitek is Digoxin. Digoxin overdose and digitalis toxicity can cause serious and life-threatening personal injury and death. The Digitek label states:
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Use in Patients with Impaired Renal Function: Digoxin is primarily excreted by the kidneys; therefore, patients with impaired renal function require smaller than usual maintenance doses of digoxin. Because of the prolonged elimination half-life, a longer period of time is required to achieve an initial or new steady-state serum concentration in patients with renal impairment than in patients with normal renal function. If appropriate care is not taken to reduce the dose of digoxin, such patients are at high risk for toxicity, and toxic effects will last longer in such patients with normal renal function.
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Adults: Cardiac: Therapeutic doses of digoxin may cause heart block in patients with pre-existing sinoatrial or AV conduction disorders; heart block can be avoided by adjusting the dose of digoxin. Prophylactic use of a cardiac pacemaker may be considered if the risk of heart block is considered acceptable. High doses of digoxin may produce a variety of rhythm disturbances, such as first-degree, second-degree (Wenkebach), or third-degree heart block (including asystole); atrial tachycardia with block; AV dissociation; accelerated junctional (nodal) rhythm; unifocal or multiform ventricular premature contractions (especially bigeminy or trigeminy); ventricular tachycardia; and ventricular fibrillation. Digoxin produces PR prolongation and ST segment depression which should not by themselves be considered digoxin toxicity. Cardiac toxicity can also occur at therapeutic does in patients who have conditions which may alter their sensitivity to digoxin.
Gastrointestinal: Digoxin may cause anorexia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Rarely, the use of digoxin has been associated with abdominal pain, intestinal ischemia and hemorrhagis necrosis of the intestines.
CNS: Digoxin can produce visual disturbances (blurred or yellow vision), headache, weakness, dizziness, apathy, confusion and mental disturbances (such as anxiety, depression, delirium and hallucination.)
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Actavis manufactured and distributed the defective Digitek. Given the FDA warning letters, Actavis should have taken the time to correct their defective product. Several lawsuits have been filed across the nation against Actavis of Digitek. Many Clark County residents may have ingested the toxic tablets and need to be aware of the recall and serious side effects.