Amiodarone may cause lung damage that can be serious or life-threatening. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any type of lung disease or if you have ever developed lung damage or breathing problems while taking amiodarone. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, other breathing problems, cough, or coughing or spitting up blood.
Amiodarone may also cause liver damage. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: nausea, vomiting, dark colored urine, excessive tiredness, yellowing of the skin or eyes, itching, or pain in the upper right part of the stomach.
Amiodarone may cause your arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) to worsen or may cause you to develop new arrhythmias. Tell your doctor if you have ever been dizzy or lightheaded or have fainted because your heartbeat was too slow and if you have or have ever had low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood; heart or thyroid disease; or any problems with your heart rhythm other than the arrhythmia that is being treated. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of the following medications: antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox); azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax); beta blockers such as propranolol (Hemangeol, Inderal, Innopran); calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Diltzac, Tiazac, others), and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan, in Tarka); cisapride (Propulsid; not available in the US); clarithromycin (Biaxin); clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay); diuretics ('water pills'); dofetilide (Tikosyn); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (not available in the US), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (not available in the US), ofloxacin, and sparfloxacin (not available in the US); other medications for irregular heartbeat such as digoxin (Lanoxin), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide, ivabradine (Corlanor), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), procainamide, quinidine (in Nuedexta), and sotalol (Betapace, Sorine, Sotylize); and thioridazine. If you have any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: lightheadedness; fainting; fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat; or feeling that your heart has skipped a beat.
You will probably be hospitalized for one week or longer when you begin your treatment with amiodarone. Your doctor will monitor you carefully during this time and for as long as you continue to take amiodarone. Your doctor will probably start you on a high dose of amiodarone and gradually decrease your dose as the medication begins to work. Your doctor may decrease your dose during your treatment if you develop side effects. Follow your doctor's directions carefully.
Do not stop taking amiodarone without talking to your doctor. You may need to be closely monitored or even hospitalized when you stop taking amiodarone. Amiodarone may remain in your body for some time after you stop taking it, so your doctor will watch you carefully during this time.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests, such as blood tests, X-rays, and electrocardiograms (EKGs, tests that record the electrical activity of the heart) before and during your treatment to be sure that it is safe for you to take amiodarone and to check your body's response to the medication.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with amiodarone and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also obtain the Medication Guide from the FDA website: Web Site.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking amiodarone.
Amiodarone is used to treat and prevent certain types of serious, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias (a certain type of abnormal heart rhythm when other medications did not help or could not be tolerated. Amiodarone is in a class of medications called antiarrhythmics. It works by relaxing overactive heart muscles.
Amiodarone comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day. You may take amiodarone either with or without food, but be sure to take it the same way each time.Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take amiodarone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Amiodarone is also sometimes used to treat other types of arrhythmias. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking amiodarone,
Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are taking this medication.
Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Amiodarone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Amiodarone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from light, excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.