Pacerone Uses

Adults who use Pacerone may be able to control potentially life-threating heart rhythm problems. This prescription medication is designed for treating serious ventricular arrhythmias when other medication has failed or cannot be tolerated. There may also be some situations where a healthcare provider may prescribe Pacerone for off-label (unapproved) reasons, such as treating arrhythmias in children or mild-to-severe chest pain.

What Is Pacerone Used For?

Pacerone® (amiodarone hydrochloride) is a prescription medication approved for use in adults who have a type of life-threatening irregular heartbeat known as a ventricular arrhythmia.
The medication is specifically approved to treat recurrent, unstable ventricular tachycardia and recurrent ventricular fibrillation. Because of the serious risks associated with Pacerone, it is reserved for use in people who have already tried other medications and either did not respond to them or could not tolerate them.

What Is a Ventricular Arrhythmia?

An arrhythmia is a problem with the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart may beat too quickly (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia), or with an irregular rhythm. An arrhythmia that occurs in the lower chambers of the heart, or the ventricles, is called a ventricular arrhythmia. While many arrhythmias are harmless and do not cause problems or symptoms, others can be serious and potentially life-threatening.
Ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation are types of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. In ventricular tachycardia, the ventricles beat in a fast but regular manner. During ventricular tachycardia, the heart rate exceeds 100 to 120 beats per minute. If the heartbeat returns to normal within a few seconds, a person may not even feel symptoms.
However, ventricular tachycardia that lasts longer than a few seconds can cause symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, or a pounding heartbeat. Because the heart is not beating correctly, it may not be able to pump blood to the body, which can cause damage to important organs.
Ventricular tachycardia is considered "unstable" when there are signs that the blood flow to the body's important organs is insufficient. Some of the signs of this may include:
  • Low blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • A very fast heart rate.
Unstable ventricular tachycardia must be treated immediately, usually with electric cardioversion (a procedure in which an electrical current is sent to the heart to return it to a normal rhythm). Medications such as Pacerone may also be used in addition to or after electric cardioversion.
Ventricular fibrillation occurs when the electrical signals that tell the ventricles to contract become very rapid and disorganized. This causes the ventricles to quiver, or "fibrillate," instead of beating normally. As a result, the heart is unable to pump blood out to the body.
Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening emergency that must be treated immediately to prevent death. It is typically treated using defibrillation, a procedure in which a device is used to send an electrical shock to the heart. The electrical shock can help the heart start beating in a normal rhythm again. Medications such as Pacerone may be used in addition to or after defibrillation.
Like other arrhythmia medicines, Pacerone has not been shown to help people with arrhythmias live longer. However, the medication can help stop an irregular heartbeat and prevent the arrhythmia from recurring. Because it is associated with potentially serious side effects, Pacerone should not be used to treat arrhythmias that are not serious.
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Pacerone Medication Information

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