amiodarone (injection)

Pronunciation: A mi OH da rone

Brand: Nexterone

What is the most important information I should know about amiodarone injection?

Amiodarone injection is for use only in life-threatening situations. You will receive this medicine in a hospital setting.

You should not receive this medicine if you are allergic to amiodarone or iodine, or if you have a serious heart condition such as "AV block" (unless you have a pacemaker), a history of slow heart beats, or if your heart cannot pump blood properly.

What is amiodarone injection?

Amiodarone is used to help keep the heart beating normally in people with life-threatening heart rhythm disorders of the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart that allow blood to flow out of the heart). Amiodarone is used to treat or prevent ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.

Amiodarone injection is for use only in life-threatening situations.

Amiodarone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using amiodarone injection?

You should not receive this medicine if you are allergic to amiodarone or iodine, or if you have:

  • certain serious heart conditions, especially "AV block" (unless you have a pacemaker);
  • a history of slow heart beats that have caused you to faint; or
  • if your heart cannot pump blood properly.

If possible before you receive amiodarone injection, tell your doctor if you have:

  • breathing problems or lung disorder;
  • liver disease;
  • vision problems;
  • high or low blood pressure;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);
  • if you have recently been ill with vomiting or diarrhea;
  • if your heart rhythm disorder has recently become worse; or
  • if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator implanted in your chest.

In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you have received this medicine.

Amiodarone may harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while receiving this medicine.

In an emergency situation, it may not be possible before you are treated with amiodarone injection to tell your caregivers if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you have received this medication.

How is amiodarone injection given?

Amiodarone is given as an infusion into a vein. Amiodarone injection is often given directly into a large vein in the upper chest (central IV line). You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting where your heart can be monitored in case the medicine causes serious side effects.

Your blood will need to be tested often, and you may need eye exams and chest x-rays.

If you need surgery (including laser eye surgery), tell the surgeon ahead of time that you have received amiodarone injection.

This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using amiodarone.

After treatment with amiodarone injection, your doctor may switch you to an oral form of amiodarone to take by mouth. Be sure to read all medication guides or instruction sheets for oral amiodarone.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Because you will receive amiodarone injection in a clinical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medicine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while using amiodarone injection?

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with amiodarone and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while you are receiving amiodarone.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Amiodarone can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

What are the possible side effects of amiodarone injection?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Amiodarone takes a long time to completely clear from your body. You may continue to have side effects from amiodarone after you stop using it. It could take up to several months for the medicine to completely clear from your body.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these side effects, even if they occur up to several months after you stop using amiodarone:

  • a new or a worsening irregular heartbeat pattern;
  • fast, slow, or pounding heartbeats;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • wheezing, cough, chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood;
  • shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • blurred vision, vision loss, headache or pain behind your eyes, sometimes with vomiting;
  • swelling, pain, redness, or irritation around your IV needle;
  • weight loss, thinning hair, feeling too hot or too cold, increased sweating, irregular menstrual periods, swelling in your neck (goiter);
  • pain in your upper stomach, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • little or no urinating.

Common side effects may include:

  • low fever;
  • slight dizziness; or
  • mild nausea, vomiting.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect amiodarone injection?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can affect amiodarone, especially:

  • an antibiotic --azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, pentamidine, rifampin, and others;
  • an antidepressant --amitriptyline, citalopram, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, nortriptyline, trazodone, and others;
  • a blood thinner --warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven;
  • cancer medicines;
  • a diuretic or "water pill";
  • "statin" cholesterol medicine --atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, Lipitor, Zocor, Vytorin, and others;
  • heart or blood pressure medication --atenolol, carvedilol, clonidine, digoxin, disopyramide, dofetilide, flecainide, ivabradine, metoprolol, nebivolol, procainamide, propranolol, quinidine, sotalol, verapamil, and many others;
  • hepatitis C medication --ledipasvir, simeprevir, sofosbuvir, Harvoni, Olysio, Sovaldi;
  • HIV or AIDS medication --indinavir, nelfinavir, rilpivirine, ritonavir, saquinavir; or
  • medicine to treat mental illness --chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, haloperidol, lithium, pimozide, promethazine, thioridazine, ziprasidone, and others.

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect amiodarone. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Amiodarone takes a long time to completely clear from your body, and drug interactions are possible for up to several months after you stop using amiodarone injection. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication during this time. Keep track of how long it has been since your last dose of amiodarone.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about amiodarone injection.

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