Amiodarone Tablets

Amiodarone is a medication that prevents and treats arrhythmia. This is a condition that causes a fast or irregular heartbeat. It slows down overactive electric signals in your heart. This stabilizes your heart’s rhythm. Brand names of this medication are Cordarone® and Pacerone®.

What is this medication?

AMIODARONE (a MEE oh da rone) prevents and treats a fast or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). It works by slowing down overactive electric signals in the heart, which stabilizes your heart rhythm. It belongs to a group of medications called antiarrhythmics.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Cordarone, Pacerone

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease
  • Other heart problems
  • Thyroid disease
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to amiodarone, iodine, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You can take this medication with or without food. However, you should always take it the same way each time. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medication more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on the advice of your care team.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your care team regarding the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

Do not take this medication with any of the following:

  • Abarelix
  • Apomorphine
  • Arsenic trioxide
  • Certain antibiotics like erythromycin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin, pentamidine
  • Certain medications for depression like amoxapine, tricyclic antidepressants
  • Certain medications for fungal infections like fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole
  • Certain medications for irregular heartbeat like disopyramide, dronedarone, ibutilide, propafenone, sotalol
  • Certain medications for malaria like chloroquine, halofantrine
  • Cisapride
  • Droperidol
  • Haloperidol
  • Hawthorn
  • Maprotiline
  • Methadone
  • Phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, thioridazine
  • Pimozide
  • Ranolazine
  • Red yeast rice
  • Vardenafil

This medication may also interact with the following:

  • Antiviral medications for HIV or AIDS
  • Certain medications for blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heart beat
  • Certain medications for cholesterol like atorvastatin, cerivastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin
  • Certain medications for hepatitis C like sofosbuvir and ledipasvir; sofosbuvir
  • Certain medications for seizures like phenytoin
  • Certain medications for thyroid problems
  • Certain medications that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin
  • Cholestyramine
  • Cimetidine
  • Clopidogrel
  • Cyclosporine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Diuretics
  • Dofetilide
  • Fentanyl
  • General anesthetics
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lidocaine
  • Loratadine
  • Methotrexate
  • Other medications that prolong the QT interval (cause an abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Procainamide
  • Quinidine
  • Rifabutin, rifampin, or rifapentine
  • St. John's Wort
  • Trazodone
  • Ziprasidone

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Your condition will be monitored closely when you first begin therapy. Often, this medication is first started in a hospital or other monitored health care setting. Once you are on maintenance therapy, visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Because your condition and use of this medication carry some risk, it is a good idea to carry an identification card, necklace or bracelet with details of your condition, medications, and care team.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.

This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.

You should have regular eye exams before and during treatment. Call your care team if you have blurred vision, see halos, or your eyes become sensitive to light. Your eyes may get dry. It may be helpful to use a lubricating eye solution or artificial tears solution.

If you are going to have surgery or a procedure that requires contrast dyes, tell your care team that you are taking this medication.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Bluish-gray skin
  • Change in vision such as blurry vision, seeing halos around lights, vision loss
  • Heart failure—shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands, sudden weight gain, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
  • High thyroid levels (hyperthyroidism)—fast or irregular heartbeat, weight loss, excessive sweating or sensitivity to heat, tremors or shaking, anxiety, nervousness, irregular menstrual cycle or spotting
  • Liver injury—right upper belly pain, loss of appetite, nausea, light-colored stool, dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing skin or eyes, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism)—unusual weakness or fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, feelings of depression
  • Lung injury—shortness of breath or trouble breathing, cough, spitting up blood, chest pain, fever
  • Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet, muscle weakness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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