Amiodarone (By mouth)

Introduction

Amiodarone Hydrochloride

Treats life-threatening heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) in patients who have already taken other antiarrhythmic medicines.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Pacerone, Cordarone

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to amiodarone or iodine, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should not use this medicine if you have certain heart problems such as heart block or severe sinus-node dysfunction. Do not use this medicine if you have had fainting spells caused by very slow heartbeat.

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You will receive your first dose of this medicine in a hospital. Your caregivers will watch you closely after you take this medicine to make sure you do not have any serious side effects.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one. Your doctor might ask you to sign some forms to show that you understand this information.
  • It may take one or two weeks before your body responds to this medicine. Take this medicine exactly as your doctor ordered, even if you feel fine.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food, but take it the same way each time.
  • You may need to carry identification showing that you are taking amiodarone. Ask your doctor about this.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as indinavir, Crixivan®), medicine for allergy symptoms (such as loratadine, Alavert®, or Claritin®), a stomach medicine (such as cimetidine, Tagamet®), medicine to treat depression (such as trazodone, Desyrel®), or medicine that weakens your immune system (such as cyclosporine, methotrexate, Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®, Folex®, or Rheumatrex®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using digoxin (Digitek®, Lanoxin®), lidocaine (Xylocaine®), other medicine for rhythm problems (such as disopyramide, flecainide, procainamide, quinidine, Cardioquin®, Norpace®, Procanbid®, or Quinaglute®), medicine to lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, cholestyramine, simvastatin, Lipitor®, Questran® or Zocor®), a blood pressure medicine (such as diltiazem, propranolol, verapamil, Cardizem®, Inderal®, or Isoptin®), or a blood thinner (such as clopidogrel, warfarin, Coumadin®, or Plavix®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using St. John's wort, medicine to treat an infection (such as clotrimazole, erythromycin, ketoconazole, rifampin, Biaxin®, Ciloxan®, Cipro®, Ery-tab®, Levaquin®, Nizoral®, Rifadin®, Rimactane®, Tequin®, or Zithromax®), narcotic pain medicine (such as fentanyl, Sublimaze®), seizure medicine (such as phenytoin, Dilantin®), or a cough medicine (such as dextromethorphan, Benylin®).
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease, heart disease (such as congestive heart failure), breathing problems or lung disease, eye or vision problems, high or low blood pressure, thyroid problems, or low potassium or magnesium in your blood.
  • Liver problems may occur while you are using this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you are having more than one of these symptoms: abdominal pain or tenderness; clay-colored stools; dark urine; decreased appetite; fever; headache; itching; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; skin rash; swelling of the feet or lower legs; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
  • Check with your doctor right away if you are having burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. These could be symptoms of a condition called peripheral neuropathy.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery or medical tests.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds. After taking amiodarone for several months, your skin may look blue-gray in color, especially on areas exposed to sunlight.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. You may also need to have regular blood tests or eye examinations while you are using this medicine.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash.
  • Blurred vision, seeing halos, or feeling that your eyes are more sensitive to light.
  • Continued or worsened uneven heartbeat.
  • Cough with blood or chest pain.
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools.
  • Fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Severe headache, pain behind your eyes, or problems with balance, walking, or speech.
  • Shallow or labored breathing.
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweat, and bluish-colored skin.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Swelling of your neck (goiter).
  • Tremors.
  • Twitching or muscle movements you cannot control (often in your eyes, jaw, neck, or upper body).
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Changes in your monthly period.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, or loss of appetite.
  • Thinning of the hair.
  • Trouble with sleeping.
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, or chest.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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