Heart Home > What Is Disopyramide Used For?

If you have a potentially life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia, your healthcare provider may prescribe disopyramide. This medication is reserved for use in people who have severe heart rhythm problems. People who use disopyramide may be able to prevent future episodes, but this medication is not a cure for these heart conditions. It is approved for use in adults only.

An Overview of Disopyramide Uses

Disopyramide (Norpace®, Norpace® CR) is a prescription antiarrhythmia medication approved to treat serious ventricular arrhythmias. A ventricular arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that begins in the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles).

What Are Ventricular Arrhythmias?

There are several different types of ventricular arrhythmias, and some are more serious than others. Ventricular tachycardia is a type of ventricular arrhythmia in which the ventricles beat very quickly, causing a heart rate greater than 120 beats a minute.
In many cases, this condition will resolve itself, and the heartbeat will return to normal within a few seconds. Because it resolves so quickly, some people may not experience any symptoms, or even know they have ventricular tachycardia. Other people may have symptoms such as:
  • Heart palpitations (feelings of a racing or pounding heart)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath, especially if the heart rate is extremely fast or lasts longer than a few seconds.
Ventricular tachycardia that lasts for longer than 30 seconds is considered sustained ventricular tachycardia. Sustained ventricular tachycardia is a very serious, life-threatening heart rhythm problem. It can turn into ventricular fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm in which the electrical activity of the heart is so disorganized that the ventricles quiver instead of beating in a regular manner. As a result, the ventricles cannot pump blood out of the heart to the rest of the body. Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately to prevent death.
Disopyramide is only approved to treat life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, such as sustained ventricular tachycardia. It can help control the abnormal heart rhythm and prevent future episodes, but it will not cure the condition. Disopyramide should not be used in people who have less severe ventricular arrhythmias, even if they are experiencing symptoms.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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