People who have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter may receive a prescription medication called Tikosyn to help get the heart rate back into a normal rhythm. This medicine comes as a capsule that is taken twice daily. It must be started in a hospital setting so your heart rate and kidneys can be monitored. Side effects may include dizziness, chest pain, and headaches.
What Is Tikosyn?
Tikosyn® (dofetilide) is a prescription medication approved to treat atrial fibrillation (commonly referred to as "a-fib") or atrial flutter. These are types of an irregular heart rate (known medically as arrhythmias). Tikosyn can be used to get the heart back to a regular rhythm and to help maintain a regular rhythm.
Tikosyn belongs to a group of medications known as Class III antiarrhythmics. Class III antiarrhythmic medications block potassium channels in the heart, preventing potassium from leaving the heart muscle cells. This action extends the period of time that heart cells will not respond to a new electrical signal.
Atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter can occur when an electrical signal comes through too soon and prematurely activates heart tissue, leading to a rapid heart rate. By blocking potassium channels, Tikosyn helps the heart tissue resist any premature electrical signal.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Tikosyn [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer Inc;2013 December.
Tikosyn Web site. Available at: http://www.tikosyn.com/. Accessed May 3, 2012.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 26, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB. Accessed May 3, 2012.
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