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 or chew them. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing. 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.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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