Amiodarone may cause lung damage that can be serious or life-threatening. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any type of lung disease or if you have ever developed lung damage or breathing problems while taking amiodarone. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, other breathing problems, cough, or coughing or spitting up blood.
Amiodarone may also cause liver damage. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: nausea, vomiting, dark colored urine, excessive tiredness, yellowing of the skin or eyes, itching, or pain in the upper right part of the stomach.
Amiodarone may cause your arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) to worsen or may cause you to develop new arrhythmias. Tell your doctor if you have ever been dizzy or lightheaded or have fainted because your heartbeat was too slow and if you have or have ever had low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood; heart or thyroid disease; or any problems with your heart rhythm other than the arrhythmia that is being treated. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of the following medications: antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox); azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax); beta blockers such as propranolol (Hemangeol, Inderal, Innopran); calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Diltzac, Tiazac, others), and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan, in Tarka); cisapride (Propulsid; not available in the US); clarithromycin (Biaxin); clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay); diuretics ('water pills'); dofetilide (Tikosyn); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gatifloxacin (Tequin; not available in the US), levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin; not available in the US), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin; not available in the US), ofloxacin (Floxin; not available in the US), and sparfloxacin (Zagam; not available in the US); other medications for irregular heartbeat such as digoxin (Lanoxin), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide, phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), procainamide, quinidine (in Nuedexta), and sotalol (Betapace, Sorine, Sotylize); and thioridazine. If you have any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: lightheadedness; fainting; fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat; or feeling that your heart has skipped a beat.
You will probably be hospitalized for one week or longer when you begin your treatment with amiodarone. Your doctor will monitor you carefully during this time and for as long as you continue to take amiodarone. Your doctor will probably start you on a high dose of amiodarone and gradually decrease your dose as the medication begins to work. Your doctor may decrease your dose during your treatment if you develop side effects. Follow your doctor's directions carefully.
Do not stop taking amiodarone without talking to your doctor. You may need to be closely monitored or even hospitalized when you stop taking amiodarone. Amiodarone may remain in your body for some time after you stop taking it, so your doctor will watch you carefully during this time.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests, such as blood tests, X-rays, and electrocardiograms (EKGs, tests that record the electrical activity of the heart) before and during your treatment to be sure that it is safe for you to take amiodarone and to check your body's response to the medication.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with amiodarone and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also obtain the Medication Guide from the FDA website: Web Site.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking amiodarone.