The digoxin tablets taken off the market during the Digitek recall were improperly manufactured at twice their normal strength. As a result of these double-strength tablets, a number of patients who were prescribed Digitek developed the symptoms of digoxin toxicity.
Digitek—known generically as digoxin—is a type of heart drug known as digitalis, which is used to treat patients with an irregular heartbeat or congestive heart failure. Digitek and other digitalis drugs treat these heart problems by strengthening the muscles of the heart, slowing down the heart rate and eliminating excess fluids from body tissues.
However, when taken at too high a dose, Digitek can worsen the problems it is intended to treat, leading to a Digitek overdose caused by digoxin toxicity. The symptoms of digoxin toxicity include an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting.
In severe cases, patients who experience digoxin toxicity due to a Digitek overdose may suffer a heart attack or stroke. Some patients who experienced these severe digoxin side effects have died as a result of a Digitek overdose.
Because of reports of serious side effects among some Digitek patients and tablets that were manufactured at twice their normal strength, drugmaker Actavis Totowa issued a digoxin recall on April 25, 2008. The company noted several reports of serious Digitek side effects among users of the drug and said that patients could die of digoxin toxicity from taking too much of the drug.