This medication is used to treat certain types of serious (possibly fatal) irregular heartbeat (such as persistent ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia). It is used to restore normal heart rhythm and maintain a regular, steady heartbeat. Amiodarone is known as an anti-arrhythmic drug. It works by blocking certain electrical signals in the heart that can cause an irregular heartbeat.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using amiodarone and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice daily or as directed by your doctor. You may take this medication with or without food, but it is important to choose one way and take this medication the same way with every dose.
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit can increase the amount of this medication in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a higher dose and gradually decrease your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Do not stop taking this medication or change the dose without first consulting your doctor.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Before taking amiodarone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to iodine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, lung disease, thyroid problems.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctors or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Amiodarone may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using amiodarone, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using amiodarone safely.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially QT prolongation (see above), thyroid problems (see Side Effects section), lung problems (see Warning section).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using amiodarone. Amiodarone may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
Amiodarone passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug.
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, shaking, or tiredness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bruising/bleeding, loss of coordination, tingling/numbness of the hands or feet, uncontrolled movements, new or worsening symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain).
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: faster/slower/more irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.
Amiodarone may rarely cause thyroid problems. Either low thyroid function or overactive thyroid function may occur. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any symptoms of low or overactive thyroid, including cold or heat intolerance, unexplained weight loss/gain, thinning hair, unusual sweating, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, or lump/growth in the front of the neck (goiter).
This drug may cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun. With long-term treatment, you may rarely develop blue-gray color of the skin. This effect is not harmful and color may return to normal after the drug is stopped. To help prevent skin effects, limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.
This drug may rarely cause vision changes. Very rarely, cases of permanent blindness have been reported. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any vision changes (such as seeing halos or blurred vision).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are taking this medication.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.