Cordarone or generic Amiodarone Hydrochloride is an antiarrhythmic drug that is prescribed only after other medications have failed to produce the desired effects of slowing your heartbeat when you have ventricular tachycardia (V-Tach) and to prevent ventricular fibrillation. This can occur when one of the ventricles of your heart malfunctions and causes your heart rate to increase. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Usually you are admitted into the hospital to be monitored while attempts are made to slow your heart rate. Cordarone may be administered intravenously to start blocking certain electrical signals in your heart and restore normal rhythm as the active ingredient saturates your tissues. As your health improves, your doctor may prescribe Cordarone oral tablets to take as directed at home.
Ventricular tachycardia is diagnosed if your heart is beating more than 100 beats per minute with at least three irregular beats in succession. The lower two chambers of your heart are called the ventricles. The right one receives blood from the right atrium (upper chambers) where it’s pumped to your main pulmonary artery.
The oxygen-poor blood then picks up oxygen and is returned to your heart. Your left ventricle receives blood from your left atrium and pumps it to your aorta where oxygen-rich blood is carried to the rest of your body. If you are experiencing V-Tach, your heart is not able to pump out the volume that is necessary to supply other organs and tissues.
You should not take Cordarone if you are pregnant unless your doctor believes the benefits outweigh the risks. Cordarone is passed into breast milk so you should use formula and bottle feed your baby. If you are planning a family, you may be advised to wait several months from the time of your last dose before trying to conceive as it takes this long for the drug to leave your system. Discuss other medical conditions you have and list all OTC and Rx drugs you are taking, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements so your doctor can decide if Cordarone is the right drug for you.
You will need to have frequent tests done while taking Cordarone as it can have long lasting effects on your body. Cordarone also takes several months to completely clear from your system after you stop taking it. If you are scheduled for any type of surgical procedure, talk to your doctor as you may have to stop taking Cordarone for a short time. Your skin may become more sensitive to the sun so use protective sunscreen and try to avoid exposure.
Any side effects that worry you, such as weakness in your arms/legs, shortness of breath, vision changes, or lack of coordination, call your doctor or seek medical assistance.