Amiodarone Side Effects

Although it can be difficult to predict whether someone might develop side effects with amiodarone, clinical studies have shown some of the most common and potentially serious problems this drug can cause. Common reactions include fatigue, muscle weakness, and nausea. Seek immediate medical treatment if you develop potentially dangerous side effects, such as chest pain, difficulty walking, or vision problems.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Amiodarone

Just like any medicine, amiodarone (Cordarone®, Pacerone®, Nexterone®) can cause side effects. In fact, side effects can be relatively common with this medicine. In most cases, the reactions are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
 
If serious or intolerable side effects occur, your healthcare provider may reduce your dose or recommend you stop taking the medicine altogether. In clinical trials, up to 20 percent of people stopped taking amiodarone due to side effects.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with amiodarone. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)
 

Serious Amiodarone Side Effects

Some side effects of amiodarone are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
 
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
 
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling, especially of the mouth, lips, or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
 
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing or spitting up blood
  • Vision problems, such as:
 
    • Blurred vision
    • Halos
    • Problems with peripheral vision
    • Eye discomfort or pain
 
  • Feelings of "pins and needles" or numbness in your hands, legs, or feet
  • Uncontrolled or involuntary movements
  • Difficulty walking or moving
  • Muscle weakness
  • Any skin rash, as amiodarone has been reported to cause life-threatening skin rashes, including rashes known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN)
  • Signs of thyroid problems, such as:
 
    • Weakness
    • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
    • An intolerance to hot or cold temperatures
    • Thinning of your hair
    • Sweating
    • Changes in your menstrual period
    • Swelling in your neck
    • Tremors
    • Feelings of nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
    • Problems concentrating
 
  • A bluish-gray skin tone
  • A fast, slow, forceful, or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • Swelling of the hands, arms, legs, ankles, or feet
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Signs of liver problems, such as:
 
    • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
    • Dark urine
    • Pain in the upper-right area of the abdomen (stomach)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Excessive tiredness.
 
Also, if you are receiving amiodarone injections, let your healthcare provider know right away if you develop problems such as:
 
  • Skin irritation
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Swelling at the injection site.
 
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