Precautions and Warnings With Disopyramide

Specific Disopyramide Precautions and Warnings

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 after having a heart attack had a higher risk of death and the potential for their heart to stop than people who did not take the antiarrhythmia medication. It is unknown whether people who have not had a recent heart attack, or people who take disopyramide, have the same risks.
 
  • Because of the potential risks associated with using this medication, and because antiarrhythmia medications have not been shown to help people with arrhythmias live longer, disopyramide should only be used to treat life-threatening heart rhythm problems.
 
  • Disopyramide can worsen your existing heart rhythm problem or cause a new heart rhythm problem, including a potentially life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm known as torsades de pointes. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat during treatment.
 
  • This medication can cause or worsen heart failure or cause extremely low blood pressure (hypotension), especially in people with weakened or enlarged hearts. If your heart muscle is weak or enlarged, you should generally begin treatment with immediate-release disopyramide (regular Norpace) rather than the controlled-release medication (Norpace CR). Let your healthcare provider know if you develop symptoms of heart failure or low blood pressure, such as:
 
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet.
 
  • Disopyramide has been reported to cause extremely low blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Although this side effect is rare, your healthcare provider may choose to carefully monitor your blood glucose levels if you may be at risk for this.
 
  • Disopyramide should generally not be given with other Class IA or Class IC antiarrhythmia medicines, as this combination may increase the risk for certain heart rhythm problems (see Drug Interactions With Disopyramide). However, this combination may be used with close monitoring in people who have life-threatening arrhythmias that are not adequately controlled on just one medicine.
 
  • Disopyramide may worsen certain medical conditions, including glaucoma, urinary retention, and myasthenia gravis. Therefore, this medication is generally not recommended for people with these conditions without appropriate monitoring and adequate treatment. If you have one of these conditions, let your healthcare provider know if your symptoms get worse after you start taking disopyramide.
 
  • Special care must be taken when this drug is used in people with certain heart rhythm problems. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have any of these conditions, which include:
 
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Atrial flutter
    • Sick sinus syndrome
    • Bundle branch block
    • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
 
  • Disopyramide can cause problems with urination, including difficulty urinating (see Disopyramide Side Effects). Men with BPH may be especially at risk for this side effect.
 
  • If you have liver or kidney disease, you will be given a lower disopyramide dosage. Your healthcare provider may also carefully monitor the electrical activity of your heart with an electrocardiogram (ECG) to make sure you are not taking too much disopyramide. Controlled-release disopyramide is not recommended for use in people with severe kidney disease; the immediate-release version should be used instead.
 
  • Disopyramide may be less effective in people with low potassium blood levels, and may cause more side effects in people with high potassium blood levels. Your healthcare provider will check your potassium level, using a simple blood test, and correct any abnormalities before you begin treatment.
 
 
  • Disopyramide is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy (see Disopyramide and Pregnancy).
 
  • Disopyramide 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 Disopyramide and Breastfeeding).
 
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