Amiodarone is an anti-arrhythmic drug. It works by blocking certain electrical signals in the heart that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Amiodarone is available under the following different brand names: Pacerone, Cordarone, and Nexterone.
Amiodarone 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.
How it works
Amiodarone belongs to a class of drugs called antiarrhythmics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
Amiodarone treats and prevents abnormal heartbeats by working inside cells to control muscle contractions in the heart. This helps your heart beat normally.
How to take amiodarone
The amiodarone dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
• the type and severity of the condition you’re using amiodarone to treat
• your age
• the form of amiodarone you take
• other medical conditions you may have
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the dosage that’s right for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.
Does Amiodarone Lower Blood Pressure?
Yes, amiodarone causes blood vessels to dilate (enlarge), this effect can result in the lowering of blood pressure, this drop in blood pressure also may be of benefit in patients with congestive heart failure, a serious condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood as efficiently as it should.
While your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Heart rate and blood pressure do not necessarily increase at the same rate. A rising heart rate does not cause your blood pressure to increase at the same rate. Even though your heart is beating more times a minute, healthy blood vessels dilate (get larger) to allow more blood to flow through more easily.
Amiodarone side effects
Amiodarone can cause mild or serious side effects. The following list contains some of the key side effects that may occur while taking amiodarone.
This list does not include all possible side effects. For more information on the possible side effects of amiodarone, or tips on how to deal with a troubling side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Amiodarone oral tablet does not cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.
More common side effects
The most common side effects that can occur with amiodarone oral tablet include:
• lack of coordination
• stomach pain
• decreased sex drive or performance
• uncontrollable or unusual movements of the body
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
• Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
o skin rash
o swelling of your lips, face, or tongue
• Lung problems. Symptoms can include:
o trouble breathing
o shortness of breath
o chest pain
o spitting up blood
• Vision changes. Symptoms can include:
o blurred vision
o increased sensitivity to light
o vision problems such as seeing blue or green halos (circles around objects)
• Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
o unusual tiredness or weakness
o dark urine
o yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
• Heart problems. Symptoms can include:
o chest pain
o fast or irregular heart rate
o feeling lightheaded or faint
o unexplained weight loss or weight gain
• Stomach problems. Symptoms can include:
o spitting up blood
o stomach pain
o nausea or vomiting
• Thyroid problems. Symptoms can include:
o decreased tolerance to heat or cold
o increased sweating
o weight loss or weight gain
o thinning hair
• Pain and swelling of your scrotum
• Nerve damage. Symptoms can include:
o pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands or feet
o muscle weakness
o uncontrolled movements
o trouble walking
• Serious skin reactions. Symptoms can include:
o blue-gray skin color
o severe sunburn