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    Seeing a physician regularly while taking digitalis drugs is very important. The physician will check to make sure the medicine is working as it should and will make any necessary changes in dosage or in instructions for taking the medicine.

    Patients taking digitalis drugs should learn to take their pulse and should check it regularly while under treatment with this medicine. Changes in pulse rate, rhythm, or force could be signs of side effects.

    Do not stop taking this medicine suddenly without checking with the physician who prescribed it. This could cause a serious change in heart function.

    Digitalis drugs are responsible for many accidental poisonings in children. Keep this medicine out of the reach of children.

    Be alert to the signs of overdose. Overdosing is a serious concern with digitalis drugs, because the amount of medicine that most people need to help their heart problems is very close to the amount that can cause problems from overdose. If any of these signs of overdose occur, check with a physician as soon as possible:

    • loss of appetite
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • pain in the lower stomach
    • diarrhea
    • extreme tiredness or weakness
    • extremely slow or irregular heartbeat (or fast heartbeat in children)
    • blurred vision or other vision changes
    • drowsiness
    • confusion or depression
    • headache
    • fainting

    Anyone who is taking digitalis drugs should be sure to tell the health care professional in charge before having any surgical or dental procedures or receiving emergency treatment. Physicians may advise people taking digitalis drugs to wear or carry medical identification indicating that they are taking this medicine.

    Patients need to be very careful not to accidentally take this medicine in place of another medicine that looks similar. Patients who are taking other medicines that look like their digitalis medicine should ask their pharmacists for suggestions on how to avoid mix-ups.

    Anyone who has had unusual reactions to digitalis drugs in the past should let his or her physician know before taking the drugs again. The physician should also be told about any allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or other substances.

    Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who may become pregnant should check with their physicians before using digitalis drugs.

    Older people may be especially sensitive to the effects of digitalis drugs, which may increase the chance of overdose.

    Before using digitalis drugs, people with any of the following the medical problems should make sure their physicians are aware of their conditions:

    • heart disease
    • heart rhythm problems
    • severe lung disease
    • kidney disease
    • liver disease
    • thyroid disease

    Source: The Gale Group. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.";

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