Norpace Warnings and Precautions

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Norpace

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using 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 of their heart stopping 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 Norpace, have the same risks.
  • Because of the potential risks associated with using this medication, and because antiarrhythmia medications (including Norpace) have not been shown to help people with arrhythmias to live longer, Norpace should only be used to treat life-threatening heart rhythm problems.
  • Like other antiarrhythmia medicines, Norpace could worsen your existing heart rhythm problem or cause a different heart rhythm problem, including a potentially life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm known as torsades de pointes. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any abnormal heart rates during treatment, such as a fast, slow, forceful, or irregular heartbeat.
  • This medication can cause or worsen heart failure and cause severe low blood pressure (hypotension), especially in people with weakened or enlarged hearts. If your heart muscle is weak or enlarged, your healthcare provider may give you a lower-than-usual Norpace dosage, and slowly adjust the amount if necessary. 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.
  • Norpace 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.
  • Norpace should generally not be given with other Class IA or Class IC antiarrhythmia medicines, because the combination may weaken the strength of the heart muscle and increase the risk for certain heart rhythm problems (see Norpace Drug Interactions). People who have life-threatening arrhythmias that are not adequately treated on just one medicine may need to take multiple antiarrhythmia medicines. However, such a combination will require careful monitoring.
  • Norpace may worsen certain medical conditions, including glaucoma, urinary retention, and myasthenia gravis, and should therefore generally not be used in 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 Norpace.
  • Special care must be taken when Norpace is used in people with certain heart rhythm problems. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have any of the following conditions:
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Atrial flutter
    • Sick sinus syndrome
    • Bundle branch block
    • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
  • Anyone who takes Norpace may experience problems with urination, including difficulty urinating (see Norpace Side Effects). However, men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) may be especially at risk for this side effect.
  • If you have liver or kidney disease, you will be given a lower Norpace dosage. Your healthcare provider may carefully monitor the electrical activity of your heart with an electrocardiogram (ECG) to make sure you are not taking too much Norpace.
  • Norpace 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 with a simple blood test before you begin treatment. Any abnormal potassium levels will need to be corrected before starting Norpace.
  • Norpace is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy (see Norpace and Pregnancy).
  • Norpace 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 Norpace and Breastfeeding).
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Norpace Medication Information

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