Cordarone is used for treating life-threatening recurrent heart rhythm disturbances in patients who cannot tolerate or do not respond well to other medicines. Cordarone is an antiarrhythmic. It works by stabilizing the heart rhythm in conditions in which the heart is beating too fast or in an irregular rhythm. It is usually used in situations in which the abnormal heart rhythms, if not treated, could cause death.
Use Cordarone as directed by your doctor.
- Take Cordarone by mouth. It is best taken with food. However, it is more important to take it consistently with regard to meals. If you take it with food, try to always take it with food to improve absorption of Cordarone. If you prefer to take it on an empty stomach, then always try to take it on an empty stomach.
- Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you take Cordarone.
- Cordarone works best when there is a constant level of the medicine in your body. Take Cordarone on a regular schedule around the clock, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Take it at the same time each day.
- If you miss a dose of Cordarone, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Cordarone.
Store Cordarone at room temperature, between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Cordarone out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Active Ingredient: Amiodarone HCl.
Do NOT use Cordarone if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Cordarone, including iodine
- you have complete, second degree, third degree, or severe sinoatrial heart block; an abnormally slow heartbeat; or shock due to serious heart problems; or if you have had fainting due to slow heartbeat (except if you have a pacemaker)
- you are taking cisapride, dofetilide, an H1 antagonist (eg, astemizole, loratadine, terfenadine), an HIV protease inhibitor (eg, ritonavir), a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (eg, vardenafil), or a streptogramin (eg, dalfopristin, quinupristin).
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Some medical conditions may interact with Cordarone. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of liver problems, lung disease, heart problems, low blood pressure, thyroid problems, electrolyte problems (eg, low blood potassium or magnesium), eye problems, or sinoatrial heart block
- if you will be having surgery, or if you have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator
- if you take medicine for diabetes (eg, glyburide).
Some medicines may interact with Cordarone. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Antiarrhythmics (eg, flecainide), arsenic, azole antifungals (eg, ketoconazole), cimetidine, cisapride, diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide), dofetilide, droperidol, H1 antagonists (eg, astemizole, loratadine, terfenadine), HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), ketolides (eg, telithromycin), macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), phenothiazines (eg, thioridazine), phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (eg, vardenafil ), pimozide, quinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin), serotonin receptor antagonists (eg, dolasetron), streptogramins (eg, dalfopristin, quinupristin), trazodone, or ziprasidone because side effects, such as heart rhythm problems or seizures, may occur
- Narcotic pain relievers (eg, fentanyl) because low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, and other heart problems may occur
- Cholestyramine, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), rifampin, or St. John's wort because they may decrease Cordarone's effectiveness
- Thyroid hormones (eg, levothyroxine) because their effectiveness may be decreased or the risk of their side effects may be increased by Cordarone
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), calcium channel blockers (eg, verapamil, diltiazem), cyclosporine, dextromethorphan, digoxin, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (eg, simvastatin), lidocaine, or methotrexate because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Cordarone
- Clopidogrel because its effectiveness may be decreased by Cordarone.
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Cordarone may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
Important safety information:
- Cordarone may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Cordarone with caution. Do not drive or perform other possible unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Severe and sometimes fatal lung or other breathing problems have been reported with Cordarone. Contact your doctor right away if you develop shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, fever, or cough, or if you begin coughing up blood.
- Long-term exposure to Cordarone may cause blue-gray discoloration of the skin, particularly of the face and hands. This effect is not harmful and usually reverses, sometimes incompletely, after the medicine is stopped. Avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun may help to prevent this effect.
- Limit alcoholic beverages while taking Cordarone.
- It may take several days to weeks for Cordarone to work. A response may not be seen for up to 3 weeks after the medicine is started.
- Cordarone stays in your body for weeks or months, even after you are no longer taking it. Therefore, caution is advised not only during treatment, but for several months after treatment with Cordarone has stopped if you are taking any interacting medicines.
- Cordarone may cause skin reactions similar to serious sunburn or sensitivity to sunlight. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Cordarone. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Cordarone before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery (including eye surgery to correct vision problems).
- Your doctor may want you to check your pulse rate every day while you take Cordarone. Learn how to monitor your pulse.
- Carry an ID card at all times that says you take Cordarone.
- Lab tests, including electrocardiogram (ECG), chest x-rays, lung tests, liver tests, thyroid tests, and eye exams, may be performed while you use Cordarone. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Cordarone should be used with extreme caution in children; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Cordarone has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Cordarone while you are pregnant. Cordarone is found in breast milk. Do not breastfeed while taking Cordarone.
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects.
Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:
Abnormal skin sensations (loss of sensation; tingling; numbness; prickling); bitter taste in mouth; blue-green discoloring of skin (especially hands or feet); constipation; decreased sexual interest; dizziness; dry eyes; flushing of the face; general body discomfort; headache; involuntary muscle movements; loss of appetite; nausea; poor coordination; tiredness; trouble sleeping; vomiting.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; chills; coldness; cough; coughing up blood; dark urine; decreased urination; easy bruising or bleeding; enlarged thyroid gland; eye discomfort; fatigue; fever; irregular pulse; loss of coordination; menstrual changes; muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness (especially with fever or unusual tiredness); nervousness; persistent sore throat; severe dizziness; severe stomach pain; shortness of breath; skin reaction similar to serious sunburn; slow heartbeat; sluggishness; sweating; tingling or numbness of hands or feet; uncontrolled shaking or tremor; unexplained weight change; vision changes (seeing halos, blurred vision, loss of vision); wheezing; worsening of irregular heartbeat; yellowing of the skin or eyes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider.