Cordarone Warnings and Precautions

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Cordarone

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
 
  • In a clinical study, people who took certain antiarrhythmia medicines like Cordarone after having a heart attack had a higher risk of their heart stopping and death than people who did not take the antiarrhythmia medications. It is unknown whether people who have not had a recent heart attack have the same risk.
 
  • Because of the potential risks associated with its use and because Cordarone has not been shown to help people with arrhythmias live longer, the medication should only be used to treat life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias in people who have not responded to or could not tolerate other antiarrhythmia medicines.
 
  • This medication can cause serious lung damage. In some cases, this damage may lead to death. Your healthcare provider will get a chest x-ray and check how well your lungs are working before you begin treatment, and every three to six months during treatment. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience any lung problems, such as:
 
    • Breathing problems, including shortness of breath or wheezing
    • An unexplained cough
    • Chest pain
    • Spitting up blood.
 
  • Cordarone has been reported to cause liver disease. While most cases of liver disease are mild, it has caused death in some people. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you have symptoms of liver problems, such as:
 
    • Dark urine
    • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
    • Upper-right abdominal (stomach) pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Extreme tiredness.
 
  • It is not uncommon for people to need lower Cordarone doses or to stop taking the medicine altogether due to side effects. In clinical studies, up to 20 percent of people stopped taking the medicine due to side effects. It is important to know that Cordarone stays in the body for months after you stop taking it. Therefore, you may continue to have side effects even when you are no longer taking the medicine.
 
  • This medicine can cause serious thyroid problems, including an underactive or overactive thyroid (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism). Your healthcare provider will check your thyroid function using a blood test before and periodically during treatment. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you develop 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 (for women)
    • Swelling in your neck
    • Tremors
    • Feelings of nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
    • Problems concentrating.
 
  • Like other antiarrhythmia medicines, Cordarone could worsen your existing heart rhythm problem or cause a new heart rhythm problem. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat during treatment.
 
  • If you have a pacemaker, it will need to be monitored and possibly reprogrammed during and after Cordarone treatment.
 
  • Cordarone has been reported to cause vision problems, which may lead to permanent blindness in some cases. You should have regular eye exams while taking this medicine. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you develop vision problems, such as:
 
    • Blurred vision
    • Seeing halos
    • Problems with peripheral vision
    • Sensitivity to the light.
 
  • Some people taking Cordarone have developed nerve problems. Although these side effects are rare, let your healthcare provider know right away if you experience any nerve problems, such as:
 
    • Numbness, tingling, and feelings of "pins and needles" in the hands, legs, or feet
    • Muscle weakness
    • Lack of coordination
    • Difficulty walking
    • Uncontrollable movements.
 
  • You may be more sensitive to the sun during Cordarone treatment. Your skin may also turn a bluish-gray color. Although skin color usually returns to normal after stopping Cordarone, it may be permanent in some people. Try to avoid sun exposure during treatment. Make sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when you are out in the sun.
 
  • If you are having surgery, including eye or dental surgery, it is very important to let your healthcare provider know if you are taking, or have recently taken, Cordarone (even if you stopped taking it months ago). You will need to be monitored more closely than usual during and after your surgery. In addition, many laser eye surgeries cannot be performed on people taking Cordarone.
 
 
  • Cordarone is a pregnancy Category D medication. This means it may harm an unborn child (see Cordarone and Pregnancy).
 
  • Cordarone passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Cordarone and Breastfeeding).
 
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