procainamide - oral, Procanbid, Pronestyl (cont.)
USES: This medication is used to treat a certain serious (possibly life-threatening), persistent, abnormally fast heartbeat (sustained ventricular tachycardia). Procainamide belongs to a class of drugs known as antidysrhythmics. It works by blocking the abnormal electrical activity of an abnormal heartbeat so that the normal heartbeat can occur.
HOW TO USE: This medication may be started at a low dose in the hospital so that your doctor can determine the best dose, increase it gradually as needed, and monitor you closely for side effects.Different kinds of procainamide taken by mouth should be taken in different ways. Each time you get a refill, make sure you have received the correct kind of procainamide. Do not change kinds of procainamide unless directed by your doctor. Doing so could increase side effects or decrease the effectiveness of the medication.Take this medication by mouth exactly as prescribed by your doctor. You may take it with or without food, but it is important to choose one way and take it consistently, either with or without food. Depending on the kind of procainamide you are prescribed, take it 2-4 times daily as directed.If you are taking the extended-release tablet, do not crush, split, or chew it. Doing so may increase side effects or decrease its effectiveness. You may see the empty extended-release tablet shell in your stool. This is harmless.Dosage is based on your medical condition, kidney/liver function, how fast your body gets rid of procainamide, other medications you may be taking, and response to therapy.This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. It is very important to avoid running out of this medication. Therefore, always order your refills several days early.Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other heart medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor. Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause your abnormal heartbeat to return.Contact your doctor immediately and seek emergency medical attention (e.g., call -911, have someone else drive you to a hospital emergency room) if your condition persists or worsens.
SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and bitter taste in the mouth may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication for a longer time may develop serious side effects, but with frequent visits to your doctor, this risk can be minimized. (See Warning section.)Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: symptoms of liver problems (e.g., persistent nausea, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin), worsening symptoms of heart failure (e.g., ankle/leg swelling, increased tiredness, increased shortness of breath when lying down).Seek immediate medical attention if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: severe dizziness, fainting, sudden change in heartbeat (unusually faster/slower/more irregular), chest pain.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: seizures, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, confusion, unusual thoughts/behavior, hallucinations), muscle pain/weakness, dry mouth/eyes.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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