In clinical studies, people who had recently had a heart attack and took certain medications for irregular heartbeat that are similar to propafenone were more likely to die than people who did not take one of the medications. Propafenone may also cause life-threatening irregular heartbeat and increase the risk of death in certain patients. Tell your doctor if you have had a heart attack within the past two years or if you have heart disease.
Because of the risks of taking propafenone, it should be used only to treat life-threatening irregular heartbeat. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking propafenone.
Your doctor may examine you and may order certain lab tests and electrocardiogram (EKG) tests to check your body's response to propafenone. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
Propafenone is used to treat arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and to maintain a normal heart rate. Propafenone is in a class of medications called antiarrhythmics. It works by acting on the heart muscle to improve the heart's rhythm.
Propafenone comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) capsule to take by mouth. The tablet is usually taken three times a day, once every 8 hours. The extended-release capsule is usually taken two times a day, once every 12 hours, with or without food. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take propafenone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the capsules whole; do not crush or open the capsules or divide the contents of a capsule into more than one dose.
You may begin taking propafenone in a hospital so that your doctor can monitor you carefully as your body gets used to the medication. Your doctor may start you on a low dose of propafenone and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every 5 days.
Propafenone may control your irregular heartbeat, but will not cure it. Continue to take propafenone even if you feel well. Do not stop taking propafenone without talking to your doctor. Your heartbeat may become irregular if you suddenly stop taking propafenone.
This medication should not be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking propafenone,
Talk to your doctor about eating foods and salt substitutes that contain potassium.
Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while you are taking this medication.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Propafenone 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 these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
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 excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
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
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.
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.