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Amiodarone is used to treat life-threatening, abnormal heart rhythm caused by disorders of the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). It can treat ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. However, it is used only for life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.
Take amiodarone exactly as directed by your doctor. Heed any further instructions included with the prescription. Your dose may occasionally be adjusted.
If you take another heart rhythm medication, you may need to slowly stop taking it when starting amiodarone.
Tablets can be taken with or without food, but take it the same way every time. If you miss a dose, skip it and take your next dose at the scheduled time.
The heart rhythm may take up to three weeks to improve. Keep taking your medicine even if you feel well.
The effects of amiodarone on your body may last a long time. Regular medical testing may be required during and after use.
Inform all medical personnel you see that you take this drug, especially before surgeries and medical tests.
Amiodarone should be stored at room temperature, away from light, moisture, and heat.
Do not take this medication if you are allergic to amiodarone or iodine, if you have a heart block, a history of slow heart beats that have caused fainting, or if your heart can’t pump blood properly.
Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor if you’ve had a history of: asthma, lung disorders, liver disease, thyroid disorder, vision issues, high or low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, or if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator implant.
Contact your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Patients should not breast-feed for several months after ending treatment with this medicine. Consult with your doctor.
Amiodarone may affect reaction time. Avoid activities that require alertness, such as driving, until you know how this drug affects you.
Overdose of amiodarone can be fatal. Find medical help immediately.
Amiodarone may cause serious heart, liver, lung, or vision side effects.
This medicine may make it more easy to get sunburned, so avoid sunlight and tanning beds. Use a sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and wear protective clothing when outside.
Get emergency medical help if you notice signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives and swelling.
Find immediate medical attention if experience: chest pain, fast/pounding heart, breathing troubles, vision difficulties, pain in the upper stomach, vomiting, jaundice, dark urine, or if you cough up blood.
Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following, even if they happen some months after you stop using amiodarone: wheezing, cough, chest pain, blood and mucus in cough, fever; new irregular heartbeat pattern, or worsening pattern; lightheadedness; blurred vision, seeing halos, and light sensitivity; symptoms of a liver issue such as nausea and vomiting, upper stomach pain, fatigue, jaundice, and dark urine; signs of a nerve problem, such as weakness, coordination problems, uncontrolled movements, prickliness; signs of a thyroid problem such as change in weight, thinning hair, feeling too hot or too cold, increased sweating, tremors, irritability and anxiety, irregular periods, neck swelling, fatigue, and trouble focusing.
Other common side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and loss of appetite.
Note that amiodarone takes a long time to leave the body. Side effects may continue after you finish using it.
This guide does not cover all possible side effects and interactions.
Symptoms of amiodarone overdose include slowed heart rate, weakness, lightheadedness, and loss of consciousness.
Avoid grapefruit products and herbal supplements that contain St. John’s wort. These can interact harmfully with amiodarone.
Inform your doctor of all other medications you take, including prescription and OTC drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbs.