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Amiodarone : Drug Information

Last updated on 12/31/2020

What is Amiodarone?

Amiodarone is an Antiarrhythmic medication available under the brand name called Cordarone, Pacerone. Doctors prescribe his medication to treat various types of irregular heartbeats such as ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia. It is also beneficial in treating wide complex tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Amiodarone works directly on the heart tissue and will slow the nerve impulses in the heart and keep the heart rhythm regular. It is available in both forms, oral as well as injections. One can avail of this medication only with a proper prescription from a doctor.

Important Information

  • You need to regularly visit your doctor and take frequent blood tests while on this medication.
  • Amiodarone may affect certain medical tests; tell your doctor that you are on this medication.
  • If you need any surgery while on this medication, you should tell your doctor that you are using Amiodarone in advance

What to know before taking Amiodarone?

You should avoid taking this medication if you are allergic to it or any of its components or if you have:

  • Any severe heart condition such as AV blocker (2nd or 3rd degree) unless you are using a pacemaker.
  • Shallow heartbeat caused due to fainting
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

To ensure that Amiodarone is safe for you, you should tell your doctor if you have or ever had the following medical issues:

  • Asthma or other lung infections
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Problem in vision
  • Blood pressure problem
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • A pacemaker implanted in your chest

Expecting women and lactating mothers should not take Amiodarone; it may harm their child.

How to take Amiodarone?

Take Amiodarone precisely as prescribed by the doctor. You must follow all the instructions given on the prescription label and medication guide carefully. Please don’t take it more than recommended and try to be consistent throughout the treatment. Consult your doctor if you are not feeling any improvement in your condition.

Keep the medication out of children’s reach and store it at room temperature away from heat and moisture. After completion of treatment, ask your pharmacist regarding the disposal of leftover medicines.

Amiodarone dosage

The dosage of Amiodarone prescribed by the doctor is dependent on several factors, such as :

  • The age and weight of the patient
  • Symptoms
  • The seriousness of the condition
  • Other medical issues that the patient is having
  • Other medications that the patient is using
  • How the patient reacted to the first dose of the medication

The doctor may prescribe the dosage of Amiodarone according to the different medical conditions of the patient.

Dosage for ventricular fibrillation

  • For older adults

The kidney of older adults may not function properly, resulting in a slow drug process in our body. As a result, a high amount of Amiodarone stays in the body for an extended period, resulting in significant risk.

After the full checkup, the doctor should suggest dosage for the patient above 65 years of age. They may increase or decrease the dose to get the desired result.

  • For adults

800 mg to 1600 mg once or twice a day for a maximum of three weeks, then after 600 mg to 800 mg once or twice a day for one month. Your doctor will adjust your dose if he thinks it appropriate.

  • For children

Doctors should not recommend Amiodarone for this age group.

Dosage for ventricular tachycardia

  • For older adults

The kidney of older adults may not function properly, resulting in a slow drug process in our body. As a result, a high amount of Amiodarone stays in the body for an extended period, resulting in significant risk.

After the full checkup, the doctor should suggest dosage for the patient above 65 years of age. They may increase or decrease the dose to get the desired result.

  • For adults

800 mg to 1600 mg once or twice a day for a maximum of three weeks, then after 600 mg to 800 mg once or twice a day for one month. Your doctor will adjust your dose if he thinks it appropriate.

  • For children

Doctors should not recommend Amiodarone for this age group.

Overdose

If you ever feel uneasy after taking Amiodarone or have taken the medication in excess, Do consult your doctor and seek medical help as soon as possible. You can get medical assistance by calling on the poison helpline number at 1-800-222-1222. It would be best if you don’t ignore these symptoms; they can be very dangerous.

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Lightheadedness

What to avoid while using Amiodarone?

Taking this medication can impair your thinking process or reaction to that. You must be very careful while driving and doing activities that require alertness and attention. Amiodarone can react with grapefruit or grape juice and result in unwanted and unpleasant side effects. Avoid direct exposure to the sunlight. You should avoid herbal products containing St. John’s Wort.

Amiodarone side effects

Some of the common side effects of using Amiodarone are as follows:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation

It is obvious to experience mild side effect symptoms, but if these symptoms bother you so much and are unbearable, you should consult your doctor and ask for medical help. You can stop taking medication and tell your doctor if you face the following problems while taking Amiodarone:

  • Wheezing
  • Cough
  • Pain in chest
  • Cough with mucus and blood
  • Fever
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing a halo around the light
  • Liver problem- nausea or vomiting, jaundice, pain in the stomach, tiredness
  • Nerve problems such as loss of coordination, involuntary muscle movements, weakness, prickly feeling in the hands, and lower legs.
  • Symptoms of overactive thyroid- loss in weight, thinning of hairs, swelling in the neck, irregular menstruation, etc
  • Symptoms of an underactive thyroid- unusual weight gain, feeling cold, tiredness, depression, etc

You should also report to your doctor from time to time if you experience any new symptoms or your symptoms are getting even worse.

What drugs can interact with Amiodarone?

If your doctor is treating you with Amiodarone, he must be knowing all the possible interactions with other medications. It is your responsibility to tell the doctor about all the over the counter medicines you take or taken in the past few days. Some of the following medications which can interact with Amiodarone are:

  • Anti-biotics
  • Anti-viral medicines
  • Blood thinners
  • Cough medicines
  • Anti-depressants
  • Drugs to prevent organ transplant reactions
  • GERD medications
  • Heart medications
  • Treatments for maintaining blood pressure
  • Treatments for maintaining cholesterol level
  • Local anesthesia
  • Allergy medication
  • Medicines to treat seizures
  • Tuberculosis medication
  • Hepatitis medications
  • Other over the counter medications
  • Herbal products
  • Vitamins and other nutritional supplements

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