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Procainamide

Pronunciation

Generic Name: procainamide (proe-KANE-a-mide)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Taking procainamide for a prolonged period of time may lead to the development of antibodies in your blood that are sometimes associated with autoimmune diseases such as lupus. If you experience butterfly-shaped rash on the face, swollen or tender joints, unexplained fever, or severe or persistent tiredness, seizures, or mental or mood changes, contact your doctor.

Procainamide should only be used to treat life-threatening irregular heartbeat. It has been associated with an increased risk of death when used to treat non-life-threatening irregular heartbeat. Talk with your doctor for more information.

Procainamide may cause severe and sometimes fatal blood problems (eg, bone marrow suppression, low blood platelet or white blood cell levels, anemia). These side effects have occurred most often during the first 12 weeks of therapy. Lab tests, such as complete blood cell counts, may be performed weekly for the first 3 months of therapy and then periodically to monitor for these side effects. If you experience fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores or irritation, or unusual bruising or bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. Your risk may be greater if you already have bone marrow or blood problems.


Procainamide is used for:

Treating certain abnormal heart rhythms.

Procainamide is an antiarrhythmic. It works by stabilizing the heart rhythm in conditions in which the heart is beating too fast or in an irregular rhythm (antiarrhythmic effect).

Do NOT use procainamide if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in procainamide
  • you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to a local anesthetic (eg, procaine)
  • you have complete heart block, lupus, or certain severe abnormal heart rhythms (eg, torsades de pointes)
  • you are taking astemizole, cisapride, dofetilide, a phenothiazine (eg, chlorpromazine), a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (eg, sildenafil), terfenadine, or ziprasidone

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using procainamide:

Some medical conditions may interact with procainamide. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of liver or kidney disease; congestive heart failure, heart block, QT prolongation, or other heart problems; bone marrow problems; blood problems (eg, low blood platelet or white blood cell levels); myasthenia gravis; or digitalis (digoxin) toxicity

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with procainamide. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Antiarrhythmics (eg, amiodarone, quinidine), anticholinergics (eg, hyoscyamine), arsenic, astemizole, cisapride, dofetilide, droperidol, H2 antagonists (eg, cimetidine), ketolide antibiotics (eg, telithromycin), macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), phenothiazines (eg, chlorpromazine), phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (eg, sildenafil), pimozide, quinolone antibiotics (eg, ciprofloxacin), serotonin receptor antagonists (eg, dolasetron), terfenadine), trimethoprim, or ziprasidone because the risk of side effects, including irregular heartbeat, may be increased
  • Neuromuscular blockers (eg, succinylcholine) because actions or side effects may be increased by procainamide

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if procainamide may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use procainamide:

Use procainamide as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Procainamide is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using procainamide at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If procainamide contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • Take procainamide regularly to receive the most benefit from it.
  • Continue to use procainamide even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of procainamide, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for our next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use procainamide.

Important safety information:

  • Procainamide may cause dizziness or blurred vision. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to procainamide.
  • Drinking alcohol may decrease the effectiveness of procainamide. Check with your doctor before drinking alcohol.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose or use procainamide for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking procainamide without checking with your doctor.
  • Procainamide may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. To prevent bleeding, avoid situations in which bruising or injury may occur. Report any unusual bleeding, bruising, blood in stools, or dark, tarry stools to your doctor.
  • Procainamide may lower your body's ability to fight infection. Prevent infection by avoiding contact with people with colds or other infections. Notify your doctor of any signs of infection, including fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using procainamide.
  • Procainamide may interfere with certain lab tests. Make sure your doctor and laboratory personnel know you are using procainamide.
  • Some of these products contain sulfites, which can cause allergic reactions in certain individuals (eg, asthma patients). If you have previously had allergic reactions to sulfites, contact your pharmacist to determine if the product you are taking contains sulfites.
  • LAB TESTS, including heart function tests, complete blood cell counts, and serum ANA titers, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use procainamide with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Use procainamide with extreme caution in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using procainamide during pregnancy. Procainamide is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while you are taking procainamide.

Possible side effects of procainamide:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); butterfly-shaped rash on the face; chest pain; dark urine; depression; diarrhea; dizziness or lightheadedness; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; loss of appetite; mood or mental changes; mouth sores or irritation; muscle pain or weakness; nausea; pale stools; seizures; stomach pain; severe or persistent tiredness; shortness of breath; swollen or tender joints; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting; wheezing; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org ), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include dizziness; fast or irregular heartbeat; irregular or difficult breathing; severe drowsiness; tremor.

Proper storage of procainamide:

Procainamide is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using procainamide at home, store procainamide as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep procainamide out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about procainamide, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Procainamide is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take procainamide or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about procainamide. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to procainamide. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using procainamide.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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