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Amiodarone

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Anti-Arrhythmic Agents

Amiodarone - What is it for

​Amiodarone is used in the treatment of abnormal heartbeat. It works by correcting the rhythm of your heartbeat and also by slowing your heartbeat if it is beating too fast.

Amiodarone - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Amiodarone cause?

  • Thyroid problems:
    • More sensitive to heat or cold
    • Weight gain or loss
    • Feeling anxious more easily or feeling tired/ restless
  • Eye problems:
    • Change in vision (e.g. Blurred vision), eye pain
    • Do not drive or operate tools or heavy machinery if your vision is affected. Your doctor may also recommend an eyesight test to monitor for such side effects
  • Nerve problems:
    • Numbness, tingling or painful sensations of hands, legs or feet
  • Skin problems:
    • Blue-grey colouring on skin, and you may get sun-burnt more easily   
    • Avoid being in the sun unless needed. Use a sunblock, sunglasses or wear covered clothes to protect your skin and eyes from too much sunlight exposure

Inform your healthcare professional if any of these symptoms do not go away and are bothersome to you.

It is very important that you are on regular follow-up with your doctor to monitor for any possible side effects. Inform your healthcare professional if you have any of the following side effects.

Amiodarone may worsen existing abnormal heart rhythm, which may be dangerous. Symptoms of abnormal heart rhythm include one or more of the following:

  • Irregular heartbeat e.g. slowed heartbeat or palpitations
  • Severe dizziness or fainting spells

Very rarely, Amiodarone may cause injury to the liver or the lungs. Symptoms of liver problems are dark urine, light-coloured stools, feeling very tired or sick, or yellowing of your skin or eyes. Symptoms of lung problems are breathlessness, cough that does not go away and fever.

Lastly, the signs of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Amiodarone, what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication, iodine or any of the other ingredients of this medication
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You have problems with your thyroid gland
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Amiodarone?

  • ​Avoid taking grapefruit and grapefruit juice when you are taking this medication as these may interact with your medication and increase the risk of side-effects.
  • If you intend to take any over-the-counter medications, supplements, herbal remedies or traditional medicine, consult your healthcare professional first to confirm that it is safe to take with Amiodarone.

Amiodarone - Dosage and How to Use

How should Amiodarone be used?

  • ​Do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional.
  • You may take this medication with or without food.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medication to make up for the missed dose.

What should I do if I overdose?

Amiodarone - Handling

How should I handle Amiodarone safely?

Amiodarone - Storage

How should I store Amiodarone?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

​Throw away all expired medications.

How should I dispose of Amiodarone safely?

​Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin.

Amiodarone - Additional Information

  • Updated on Wednesday, July 31, 2019
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

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