Generic Name: amiodarone (a-mee-OH-da-rone)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 6, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Cordarone IV
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antiarrhythmic, Group III
Chemical Class: Benzofuran
Uses for amiodarone
Amiodarone injection is used to correct life-threatening heart rhythm problems called ventricular arrhythmias. Amiodarone is used in patients who have already been treated with other medicines that did not work.
Amiodarone injection belongs to the group of medicines known as antiarrhythmics. It works directly on the heart tissue and will slow the nerve impulses in the heart. This helps keep the heart rhythm normal.
Amiodarone is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using amiodarone
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For amiodarone, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to amiodarone or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of amiodarone injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of amiodarone injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving amiodarone injection.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving amiodarone, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using amiodarone with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using amiodarone with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Abiraterone Acetate
- Agalsidase Alfa
- Aripiprazole Lauroxil
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Chloral Hydrate
- Dabigatran Etexilate
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Eslicarbazepine Acetate
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Inotuzumab Ozogamicin
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
- Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
- St John's Wort
- Vincristine Sulfate Liposome
Using amiodarone with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of amiodarone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- AV block (type of abnormal heart rhythm), with no pacemaker or
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat) or
- Cardiogenic shock or
- Sick sinus syndrome (type of abnormal heart rhythm), with no pacemaker—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Eye or vision problems or
- Heart rhythm problems (e.g., QT prolongation) or
- Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood) or
- Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood) or
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) or
- Lung disease or other breathing problems or
- Thyroid problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of amiodarone
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you amiodarone in a hospital. Amiodarone is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
Your doctor will give you a few doses of amiodarone until your condition improves, and then switch you to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor.
Precautions while using amiodarone
It is very important that your doctor check your progress while you receive amiodarone to make sure that it is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using amiodarone 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.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur, especially when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. These symptoms are more likely to occur when you begin using amiodarone, or when the dose is increased.
Liver problems may occur while you are using amiodarone. 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.
Amiodarone can cause changes in your heart rhythm, such as a condition called QT prolongation. It may cause fainting or serious side effects in some patients. Contact your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of heart rhythm problems, such as fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeats.
Tell your doctor right away if you are having shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, or any type of breathing problem while being treated with amiodarone.
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).
Grapefruits and grapefruit juice may increase the side effects from amiodarone injection by increasing the amount of amiodarone in your body. You should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using amiodarone.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (e.g., St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
Amiodarone side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blood in the urine or stools
- chest pain or discomfort
- cold, clammy skin
- decreased urine output
- difficulty with breathing
- dilated neck veins
- extreme fatigue
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- fast, weak pulse
- irregular heartbeat recurrent
- joint or muscle pain
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- no blood pressure or pulse
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- red, irritated eyes
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- shortness of breath
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
- stopping of the heart
- swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
- tightness in the chest
- troubled breathing
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- weight gain
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- back, leg, or stomach pains
- bleeding gums
- blurred or double vision
- clay-colored stools
- confusion about identity, place, and time
- cough or hoarseness
- coughing or spitting up blood
- cracks in the skin
- dark-colored urine
- decreased frequency or amount of urine
- decreased urine output
- difficulty swallowing
- eye pain
- fever with or without chills
- general body swelling
- general feeling of tiredness or weakness
- high fever
- holding false beliefs that cannot be changed by fact
- increased blood pressure
- increased thirst
- inflamed tissue from infection
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- loss of heat from the body
- lower back or side pain
- muscle cramps or spasms
- muscle pain or stiffness
- muscle twitching
- muscular pain, tenderness, wasting, or weakness
- noisy breathing
- painful or difficult urination
- pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- pale skin
- persistent non-healing sore
- pink growth
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- rapid weight gain
- red, swollen skin
- reddish patch or irritated area
- redness, soreness, or itching skin
- scaly skin
- seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
- severe headache
- shiny bump
- sores, welting, or blisters
- swollen or painful glands
- unexplained bleeding or bruising
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness
- upper right abdominal pain
- vomiting of blood
- white, yellow, or waxy scar-like area
- yellow eyes and skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about amiodarone
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Pricing & Coupons
- 71 Reviews
- Drug class: group III antiarrhythmics
- FDA Alerts (4)
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