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Amiodarone

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WARNING

Amiodarone may result in significant or perhaps fatal lung damage. If you have or have ever had any form of lung illness, or if you have ever experienced lung damage or breathing issues while taking amiodarone, let your doctor know right away. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, coughing or spitting up blood while coughing, wheezing, or other breathing issues

Additionally, amiodarone may harm the liver. If you have liver illness now or ever had it, let your doctor know. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, black urine, extreme fatigue, yellowing of the skin or eyes, itching, or stomach pain in the upper right portion.

Amiodarone has the potential to exacerbate existing arrhythmias or lead to the emergence of brand-new ones. Inform your physician if you have ever experienced fainting due to a too-slow heartbeat, experienced low potassium or magnesium levels in your blood, have thyroid or heart illness, or experience any other heart rhythm issues besides the arrhythmia being treated. If you are taking any of the following medications, let your doctor and pharmacist know: Azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax); beta blockers such propranolol (Hemangeol, Inderal, Innopran); antifungals like fluconazole (Diflucan), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox); verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan, in Tarka), diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Diltzac, Tiazac, and others), cisapride (Propulsid; not available in the US), dofetilide (Tikosyn), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin), clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay), cisapride (Propulsid; not available in the US), and clarithromycin (Biaxin); fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), other drugs for irregular heartbeats include thioridazine, procainamide, quinidine (in Nuedexta), flecainide, digoxin (Lanoxin), disopyramide (Norpace), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), and sotalol (Betapace, Sorine, Sotylize); as well as digoxin (Lanoxin), flecainide, and ivabradine. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the symptoms listed below: Feeling dizzy, faint, your heart is beating quickly, slowly, or thumping, or your heart has skipped a beat.

The first week or more of your amiodarone treatment will likely be spent in the hospital. For as long as you take amiodarone, your doctor will keep a close eye on you during this period. As the drug starts to function, your doctor will likely put you on a high dose of amiodarone and gradually reduce it. If you experience side effects while receiving therapy, your doctor may lower your dose. Carefully adhere to your doctor’s instructions.

Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking amiodarone. When you stop taking amiodarone, you might need to be closely watched or possibly admitted to the hospital. Your doctor will keep a close eye on you throughout this period because amiodarone may stay in your system for some time after you stop taking it.

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To ensure that taking amiodarone is safe for you and to monitor your body’s reaction to the medication, your doctor will request a number of tests before and during your treatment, including blood tests, X-rays, and electrocardiograms (EKGs, tests that record the electrical activity of the heart).

The manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) will be sent to you by your doctor or pharmacist when you start amiodarone medication and each time you need a prescription refill. If you have any questions, carefully read the material and contact your doctor or pharmacist. The Medication Guide is also available on the FDA website.

The dangers of taking amiodarone should be discussed with your doctor.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Amiodarone is used to treat and prevent some significant, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias (a particular type of irregular cardiac rhythm) when previous drugs were ineffective or intolerable. A class of drugs known as antiarrhythmics includes amiodarone. The overworked cardiac muscles are relaxed as a result.

How should this medicine be used?

Amiodarone is available as an oral tablet. Typically, it is taken once or twice a day. Amiodarone can be taken with or without food, but it must always be taken the same way each time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the amiodarone directions exactly. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Other uses for this medicine

In some cases, amiodarone is used to treat different arrhythmias. The dangers of using this drug for your illness should be discussed with your doctor.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking amiodarone,

  • If you have an allergy to amiodarone, iodine, any other drugs, or any of the ingredients in amiodarone tablets, let your doctor and pharmacist know right away. For a list of the ingredients, consult the Medication Guide or speak with your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and dietary supplements you are currently taking or intend to take. Mention the drugs in the IMPORTANT WARNING section as well as any of the following: anticoagulants (also known as “blood thinners”) such warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), dabigatran (Pradaxa), and antidepressants (also known as “mood lifters”) like trazodone (Oleptro); cimetidine; clopidogrel (Plavix); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); dextromethorphan (a drug in many cough preparations); fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, others); certain cholesterol-lowering drugs such atorvastatin (Lipitor, in Caduet, in Liptruzet), cholestyramine (Prevalite), HIV protease inhibitors such as ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra, in Viekira Pak), indinavir (Crixivan), ledipasvir and sofosbuvir (Harvoni), lithium (Lithobid), loratadine (Claritin), diabetes or seizure medications, methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Trexall), narcotic painkillers (Olysio). Inform your doctor about all the drugs you are taking, including any not on this list, as many other drugs may interact with amiodarone. Your doctor might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye out for any negative side effects.
  • Please let your doctor know if you are taking any herbal supplements, especially St. John’s wort.
  • Inform your doctor if you experience diarrhoea, any of the conditions listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, or blood pressure issues.
  • If you are pregnant or want to become pregnant, let your doctor know. If you intend to become pregnant while receiving therapy, let your doctor know right away because amiodarone may stay in your system for a while after you stop taking it. Call your doctor right away if you conceive while taking amiodarone. Amiodarone may affect developing foetuses.
  • Inform your doctor if you are nursing a child. If you are using amiodarone, you should not breastfeed.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older, talk to your doctor about the dangers of taking this drug. Amiodarone is typically not recommended for older persons to consume since it is not as safe or effective as alternative drugs that can be used to treat the same disease.
  • Inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking amiodarone if you are having surgery, such as laser eye surgery or dental surgery.
  • Make a plan to limit your time spent in the sun or under sunlamps, and remember to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothes. You should avoid direct sunlight while taking amiodarone. Even after you stop using this drug, exposed skin may continue to be blue-gray and may not heal properly.
  • Amiodarone may result in vision issues, including permanent blindness, which you should be aware of. Throughout your therapy, be careful to have regular eye exams. Call your doctor if you experience any vision issues, such as blurred vision, dry eyes, sensitivity to light, or halos.
  • Amiodarone may stay in your system for several months after you stop taking it, so you should be aware of that. During this time, amiodarone side effects could still affect you. If you have recently stopped taking amiodarone, make sure to let each medical professional who sees you or writes a prescription for you during this period know.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

When using this medication, avoid drinking grapefruit juice.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Ignore the missed dose and carry on with my normal dosing routine. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from amiodarone are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Constipation
  • Reduced appetite
  • Headache
  • Reduced sex desire
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Flushing
  • Alterations in taste and smell perception
  • Changes in saliva production

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away or seek emergency medical attention if you encounter any of the symptoms below or those in the IMPORTANT WARNING section:

  • Rash
  • Gain or loss of weight
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • An intolerance to cold or heat
  • Balding hair
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Cycles of menstruation changing
  • Front of the neck is swollen (goiter)
  • Hands, foot, ankles, or lower legs swelling
  • Body shaking that cannot be controlled
  • Loss of concentration
  • Movements you’re unable to control
  • Poor balance or difficulty walking
  • Tingling or numbness in the feet, legs, and hands
  • Muscle tremor

 

Other negative effects of amiodarone are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from light, excessive heat, and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning. http://www.upandaway.org

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

Overdose symptoms could include:

  • Sluggish heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Distorted vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting

What other information should I know?

No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Cordarone®
  • Pacerone®
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