Cordarone (Amiodarone) Dosage and Side Effects
CORDARONE is a medication used sometimes in emergency situations to treat irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
Proper Use of this medication
CORDARONE is available in tablet form or as a liquid for injection. The injection must be given in the hospital by a trained healthcare professional.
Patients receiving CORDARONE for the first time are normally closely monitored by healthcare professional to help determine whether their body can tolerate the drug.
CORDARONE tablets are available in 100 milligram (mg), 200 mg, and 400 mg tablets taken by mouth.
When you first start taking CORDARONE, your doctor may put you on a higher dose (ranging from 800 to 1600 mg per day) for one to three weeks until your body starts to respond to the drug. Then, your dose may be decreased (ranging from 400 mg to 600 mg per day).
In children, the dose of CORDARONE is normally based on the child's body surface area (BSA), and normally ends being no more than 400 mg per day.
CORDARONE can be taken with or without food, but you should always take it with a full glass of water.
You should expect to have regular follow-up visits and blood work done while taking this drug to make sure your body is responding well to the drug.
Common Side Effects of CORDARONE
You should tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don't go away:
•Low blood pressure
•Dizziness or headache
•Awkward stance and walking
•Shaking and uncontrollable movement
•Tiredness and trouble sleeping
•Sensitivity to the sun
•Low levels of thyroid hormone
•Increased cholesterol levels, including triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
•Loss of appetite
•Severe cough or shortness of breath with exertion (that wasn't present before starting CORDARONE)
Serious Side Effects of CORDARONE
You should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
•Congestive heart failure
•Slowed heart beat (bradycardia)
•Atrioventricular (AV) block or sinoatrial (SA) node block
•Inflammation of the liver, including lost liver function (cirrhosis)
•Problems with vision (seeing halos or yellowish colors)
•Inflammation of the pancreas
•Nerve damage (when taken for long periods of time)
•Severe skin reactions
Rare Side Effects of CORDARONE:
Although not common, some patients taking CORDARONE may notice a bluish or gray-blue tint to the skin (ceruloderma).
In rare cases, patients who have taken CORDARONE for long periods of time and in higher doses may begin to see yellowish halos due to a build-up of small bodies of fat on the eye, known as corneal microdeposits.
This side effect reportedly goes away roughly seven months after stopping CORDARONE.
Another rare side effect is a condition known as demyelinating polyneuropathy, which can lead to partial or permanent blindness.
It's recommended that all patients on CORDARONE have a test of their lung function (called a pulmonary function test) before or just after starting CORDARONE and yearly during therapy.
This is advised to monitor for the possible side effect of pulmonary fibrosis.
Warnings and Precautions
CORDARONE has two black-box warnings for having the potential to cause the risk of sudden death and potentially deadly side effects including:
•Lung damage, including fibrosis (scarring) or inflammation of the lungs
•Liver damage or inflammation, including causing abnormal levels of liver function tests (LFTs)
•Irregular heartbeat or heart rhythm. (Note that medications that are taken for arrhythmias can also cause arrhythmias.)
As a result, CORDARONE is only prescribed for patients in situations where the risk outweighs the benefit (e.g., for patients who have heart conditions that are considered to be deadly).
You should not take CORDARONE if:
•You are allergic to CORDARONE or any of the inactive ingredients
•Have severe abnormal function of the sinus node or 2/3 sinus block
Patients who receive CORDARONE via injection (intravenously) will need to do so in a hospital setting.
Talk to your doctor before taking CORDARONE if you:
•Are sensitive to sunlight
•Have thyroid conditions
•Have a pacemaker
•Have heart disease or heart conditions, including heart block, slow heartbeat, enlarged heart, and/or low blood pressure
•Are taking warfarin (CORDARONE can increase risk of bleeding)
•Have an existing lung disease such as pulmonary fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Pregnancy and CORDARONE
CORDARONE should only be taken in situations when there are no other options available, because the drug could harm the fetus.
Regardless, you should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or might become pregnant before taking this medication.
CORDARONE is not recommended for breastfeeding women, so make sure to tell your physician if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Interactions with this medication
Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking.
You should not take CORDARONE if you are taking the following drugs:
•Medications to control heart rhythm like Tikosyn (dofetilide), Multaq (dronedarone), Covert (ibutilide), and procainamide
•Foradil and Perforomist (formoterol); also found in Dulera and Symbicort
•Psychiatric medications like Haldol (haloperidol) and Geodon (ziprasidone)
•Nebupent or Pentam (pentamidine)
•HIV/AIDS medications like Crixivan (indinavir), Varicept (nelfinazvir), Norvir (ritonavir), and Fortavase or Invirase (saquinavir)
Other medications that have serious interactions with CORDARONE include:
•Antidepressants such as Pamelor (nortriptyline), Effexor (venlafaxine), Celexa (citalopram)
•Antibiotics like Zithromax (azithromycin), Biaxin (clarithromycin), Cipro (ciprofloxacin),
•Statins such as Lipitor (atorvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), or Zocor (simvastatin)
•Clozaril (clozapine), Seroquel (quetiapine), Invega (paliperidone)
•Cancer medications like Gleevec (imatinib), Eligard, Lupaneta, or Lupron (leuoprolide), and Xalkori (crizotinib)
•Diflucan (fluconazole), Nizoral (ketoconazole), Vfend (voriconazole), and Sporonax or Omnel (itraconazole)
•The herbal supplement St. John's wort
CORDARONE and Alcohol
Avoid or limit drinking alcohol while taking CORDARONE.
Alcohol use increases the risk that you'll experience side effects of the drug.
CORDARONE and Grapefruit
You should avoid eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while taking CORDARONE.
Grapefruit juice slows down how quickly the body is able to break down the medication, which could cause CORDARONE levels in the blood to rise dangerously high.
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.