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Amiodarone

What is amiodarone

Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic medication. Amiodarone affects the way that the heart beats.

Amiodarone is used to treat irregular heartbeats.

Amiodarone may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

General medical information about amiodarone

In some cases, amiodarone has been associated with serious and even fatal side effects such as lung problems, liver problems, and new or worsening irregular heartbeats. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits associated with the use of amiodarone.

Do not skip doses or change the dosing schedule without talking to your doctor. Missed or delayed doses could be harmful.

Do not consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice during treatment with amiodarone. Amiodarone can interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice, and the interaction may have dangerous effects. You should discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Amiodarone may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. If you experience dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision, avoid these activities.

Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Amiodarone may cause the skin to turn a bluish-gray color. This reaction is worse with exposure to the sun. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when exposure to the sun is unavoidable.

What you should find out before taking amiodarone

In some cases, amiodarone has been associated with serious and even fatal side effects such as lung problems, liver problems, and new or worsening irregular heartbeats. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits associated with the use of amiodarone.

Before taking amiodarone, tell your doctor if you
- have any other type of heart disease or heart problems;
- have liver disease;
- have vision problems (especially optic neuritis);
- have thyroid problems; or
- need to have surgery.

You may not be able to take amiodarone, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Amiodarone is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that it is known to be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take amiodarone without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.

Amiodarone passes into breast milk. It is not known whether this medication will affect a nursing infant. Do not take amiodarone without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should take amiodarone

Take amiodarone exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Amiodarone can be taken with or without food. However, it should always be taken the same way, either with or without food.

Do not consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice during treatment with amiodarone. Amiodarone can interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice, and the interaction may have dangerous effects. You should discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor.

It is important to take amiodarone regularly to get the most benefit.

Do not skip doses or change the dosing schedule without talking to your doctor. Missed or delayed doses could be harmful.

Your doctor may want you to have blood tests or other medical evaluations during treatment with amiodarone to monitor progress and side effects.

Store amiodarone at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose:

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication. A double dose could be dangerous.

What happens if you overdose:

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of an amiodarone overdose include tiredness, dizziness, confusion, a slow heart rate, yellowing of the skin or eyes, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and worsening irregular heartbeats.

Avoid while taking amiodarone

Do not consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice during treatment with amiodarone. Amiodarone can interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice, and the interaction may have dangerous effects. You should discuss the use of grapefruit and grapefruit juice with your doctor.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Amiodarone may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. If you experience dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision, avoid these activities.

Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Amiodarone may cause the skin to turn a bluish-gray color. This reaction is worse with exposure to the sun. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when exposure to the sun is unavoidable.

Follow any other special instructions given by your doctor regarding food, beverages, or activities (e.g., driving).

Possible side effects of amiodarone

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking amiodarone and seek emergency medical attention:
- an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- a new or a worsening irregular heartbeat pattern;
- wheezing, coughing, chest pain, or chest discomfort;
- yellowing of the skin or eyes;
- changes in vision, blurred vision, or decreased vision;
- cough or shortness of breath;
- fainting;
- tremor or involuntary movements; or
- skin rash;

Other, less serious side effects may also occur. Continue to take amiodarone and talk to your doctor if you experience
- dizziness or tiredness;
- upset stomach, vomiting, decreased appetite, or diarrhea;
- changes in taste;
- poor coordination;
- numbness, or tingling; or
- bluish-gray discoloration of the skin.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect amiodarone

Before taking amiodarone, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
- cimetidine (Tagamet);
- cholestyramine (Questran);
- cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral);
- dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant commonly used in prescription and over-the-counter cough medications);
- digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);
- fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq);
- lidocaine (Xylocaine, others);
- methotrexate (Rheumatrex);
- rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane);
- the herbal product St. John's wort;
- simvastatin (Zocor);
- theophylline (Theo-Bid, Theo-Dur, Theolair, Elixophyllin, Slo-Phyllin, others);
- warfarin (Coumadin);
- a protease inhibitor such as indinavir (Crixivan), lopinavir-ritonavir (Kaletra), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase);
- phenytoin (Dilantin), ethotoin (Peganone), or mephenytoin (Mesantoin);
- flecainide (Tambocor), procainamide (Pronestyl, Procan SR, Procanbid), quinidine (Cardioquin, Quinaglute, Quinora, Quinidex), disopyramide (Norpace), or other medicines used to treat irregular heartbeats;
- a beta-blocker such as acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor), propranolol (Inderal), and others; or
- a calcium channel blocker such as verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Isoptin), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor XR), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), felodipine (Plendil), and others.

You may not be able to take amiodarone, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with amiodarone. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

All prescription drugs:

A
abilify accupril accutane acetaminophen aciphex actifed actonel actos acyclovir adalat adderall adipex advair advil albuterol alesse aleve allegra allopurinol amaryl ambien amiodarone amitriptyline amoxicillin amoxil amphetamine anacin aprazolam aricept asacol aspirin atenolol ativan atorvastatin atrovent augmentin avandia avapro avastin avelox azmacort
B
baclofen
bactrim bactroban baycol benadryl bextra biaxin boniva bontril buspar buspirone
C
caduet campral camptosar capoten captopril cardizem cardura carisoprodol casodex catapress cefzil celebrex celexa cellcept cephalexin cialis cipro ciprodex clarinex claritin climara clindamycin clonazepam clonidine codeine codeprex combivent combivir concerta copaxone coreg coricidin cotrim coumadin cozaar crestor cubicin cyclobenzaprine cymbalta
D
darvocet demerol depakote desogen detrol dextromethorphan diazepam diclofenac didrex diflucan digoxin dilantin diltiazem dimetapp diovan diprivan ditropan doxazosin doxycycline drixoral duragesic dyazide
E
effexor elavil elocon eloxatin emend enalapril enbrel endocet engerix-b entex epogen epzicom erbitux ertaczo ery-tab erythromycin estradiol evista 
F
fabrazyme famotidine fazaclo fenofibrate fioricet fiorinal flexeril flomax flonase flovent fluoxetine fosamax fosrenol furosemide  
G
gabapentin gamimune gemfibrozil gemzar glipizide glucophage glucotrol glucovance glyburide glyburide guaifenesin guaifenex 
H
herceptin humalog humira hydroxyzine hyzaar  
I
ibuprofen imdur imitrex imodium inderal insulin integrilin iressa 
K
kaletra keflex kenalog keppra ketek klonopin kytril  
L
lamictal lamisil lanoxin lantus lasix lescol levaquin levitra levothyroxine levoxyl lexapro lidoderm lipitor lisinopril lithium lorazepam lortab lotensin lotrel lotrisone lovenox lupron luveris  
M
macrobid magnevist meclizine medroxyprogesterone meridia metformin methadone methamphetamine methotrexate methylphenidate methylprednisolone metoclopramide metoprolol metronidazole miacalcin minocycline mobic monopril morphine motrin myfortic  
N
naproxen nasacort nasonex natrecor neulasta neupogen neurontin nexium nifedipine nitrofurantoin norco nortriptyline norvasc  
O
omeprazole omnicef orthovisc oxybutynin oxycodone oxycontin oxytrol  
P
paraplatin patanol paxil pegasys penicillin pepcid percocet percodan percogesic phendimetrazine phenergan phentermine phenytoin plavix plendil potassium pravachol prednisone premarin prempro prevacid prilosec prinivil procrit promethazine propecia propofol propoxyphene propranolol protonix proventil provigil prozac pseudoephedrine pulmicort  
R
ranitidine rebetol reglan relafen relpax remeron remicade renagel renova rhinocort riomet risperdal risperidone ritalin rituxan rocephin rogaine roxicet  
S
sanctura seasonale sensipar serevent seroquel serzone singulair skelaxin soma somavert sonata spiriva spironolactone strattera striant sustiva synagis synthroid 
T
tamoxifen tavist taxol taxotere tegretol temazepam tenormin tenuate tequin terazosin tetracycline tiazac tindamax titralac tobradex topamax toprol tramadol trazodone triamcinolone triaminic triamterene tricor trileptal trimox triphasil trizivir truvada tylenol 
U
ultane ultracet ultram uroxatral
V
valium valtrex vaniqa vasotec velcade verapamil viagra vicodin vicoprofen vidaza viracept viread vytorin  
W
warfarin wellbutrin  
X
xalatan xanax xenical xifaxan xolair xopenex xyrem  
Y
yasmin 
Z
zanaflex zantac zavesca zelnorm zemplar zerit zestoretic zestril zetia ziac zithromax zocor zofran zoladex zoloft zometa zorbtive zosyn zovirax zyrtec zyvox