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Cardiac glycosides

Alternative names

This is poisoning from cardiac glycoside.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • deslanoside
  • digitoxin
  • digoxin(e)
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Where Found

  • deslanoside
  • digitoxin
  • digoxin
  • in foxglove
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole
    • weakness
    • headache
    • apathy
    • depression
    • hallucinations *
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • blurred vision
    • halos around objects (yellow, green, white) *
  • skin
    • rash
    • hives
    • stevens-johnson syndrome
  • gastrointestinal
    • loss of appetite *
    • vomiting or nausea
    • abdominal pain (lower stomach)
    • diarrhea
  • heart and blood vessels
    • irregular heartbeat (or slow)
    • low blood pressure
  • nervous system
    • drowsiness
    • confusion
    • depression *
    • headache
    • fainting
    • lethargy
    • disorientation
* Usually only seen with chronic overdose cases

Home Treatment

Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by Poison Control or by a physician.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known) or plant
  • the time it was swallowed
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container or plant with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
  • induce vomiting
  • administer activated charcoal
  • use gastric lavage
  • monitor vital signs ( blood pressure , pulse , and so forth)
  • monitor EKG (monitors heart function)
  • blood samples drawn to determine:
    • digitalis levels
    • serum magnesium levels
    • serum potassium levels
  • administration of antidote and other medication to correct problems resulting from the overdose, if needed
  • correction of electrolyte (potassium, magnesium) imbalances

Expectations (prognosis)

If the individual survives the first 24 hours their chances of survival are very good.

Update Date: 1/29/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT