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Cordarone

Pronunciation

Generic Name: amiodarone (oral) (A mi OH da rone)
Brand Name: Cordarone, Pacerone

What is amiodarone?

Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic medication that affects the rhythm of heartbeats.

Amiodarone is used to help keep the heart beating normally in people with life-threatening heart rhythm disorders of the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart that allow blood to flow out of the heart). Amiodarone is used to treat ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.

Amiodarone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about amiodarone?

Amiodarone is for use only in life-threatening situations. This medication has the potential to cause side effects that could be fatal, and you will receive your first few doses in a hospital setting.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to amiodarone or iodine, or if you have certain heart conditions such as "AV block," or a history of slow heart beats.

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Do not use amiodarone without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. Your thyroid and liver function may also need to be tested, and you may need eye exams and chest x-rays. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

You may continue to have side effects from amiodarone after you stop taking it. It could take up to several months for the medicine to completely clear from your body.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking amiodarone?

Amiodarone is for use only in life-threatening situations. This medication has the potential to cause side effects that could be fatal, and you will receive your first few doses in a hospital setting.

You may continue to have side effects from amiodarone after you stop taking it. It could take up to several months for the medicine to completely clear from your body.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to amiodarone or iodine, or if you have:

  • certain serious heart conditions, especially "AV block" (unless you have a pacemaker); or

  • a history of slow heart beats that have caused you to faint.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before taking amiodarone, tell your doctor if you have:

  • asthma or another lung disorder;

  • liver disease;

  • vision problems;

  • high or low blood pressure;

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood); or

  • if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator implanted in your chest.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use amiodarone without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Amiodarone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication while you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take amiodarone?

You will receive your first few doses of amiodarone in a hospital setting where your heart can be monitored in case the medication causes serious side effects.

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water.

You may take amiodarone with or without food but take it the same way every time.

It is important to use amiodarone regularly to get the most benefit. Keep using this medication even if you feel fine or have no symptoms. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your thyroid and liver function may also need to be tested, and you may need eye exams and chest x-rays. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

If you need to have any type of surgery (including laser eye surgery), tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using amiodarone. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain thyroid tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using amiodarone.

Store amiodarone at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include weakness, slow heart rate, feeling light-headed, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking amiodarone?

Amiodarone can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with amiodarone and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Amiodarone can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

Amiodarone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects, even if they occur up to several months after you stop using amiodarone:

  • a new or a worsening irregular heartbeat pattern;

  • fast, slow, or pounding heartbeats;

  • feeling like you might pass out;

  • wheezing, cough, chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood;

  • blurred vision, vision loss, headache or pain behind your eyes, sometimes with vomiting;

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion, swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • weight loss, thinning hair, feeling too hot or too cold, increased sweating, irregular menstrual periods, swelling in your neck (goiter);

  • numbness, burning, pain, or tingling in your hands or feet; or

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • feeling dizzy or tired;

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, loss of appetite;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • weakness, lack of coordination; or

  • warmth, tingling, or redness under your skin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect amiodarone?

Many drugs can interact with amiodarone. Below is only a partial list. Tell your doctor if you are using:

  • cimetidine (Tagamet);

  • clopidogrel (Plavix);

  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);

  • dextromethorphan (an over-the-counter cough medicine);

  • diclofenac (Arthrotec, Cataflam, Voltaren, Flector Patch, Solareze);

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);

  • loratadine (Claritin Alavert);

  • St. John's wort;

  • an antidepressant;

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);

  • a diuretic (water pill);

  • insulin or diabetes medication you take by mouth;

  • narcotic pain medication;

  • medication to treat HIV or AIDS;

  • an antibiotic such as azithromycin (Zithromax), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater, Rifamate), telithromycin (Ketek), and others;

  • an antifungal medication such as itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral);

  • a beta-blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin), bisoprolol (Zebeta, Ziac), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), and others;

  • cholesterol-lowering medicines such as cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran), atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), or fluvastatin (Lescol);

  • heart rhythm medication such as disopyramide (Norpace), quinidine (Quinaglute, Quinidex), or procainamide (Procan, Pronestyl);

  • heart or blood pressure medication such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), and others; or

  • seizure medication such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), and others.

This list is not complete and there are many other medicines that can cause serious drug interactions with amiodarone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about amiodarone.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.04. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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