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What are the uses for propafenone?
- Propafenone is an anti-arrhythmic agent approved for use in patients with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, such as ventricular tachycardia.
- Propafenone is also effective in suppressing the recurrence of atrial fibrillation and supra-ventricular tachycardia once normal sinus rhythm has been restored.
- Propafenone is at least as effective as any other type I agent in converting atrial fibrillation to normal sinus rhythm.
- Propafenone is effective in atrial tachycardia, AV nodal tachycardia, and bypass tract tachycardias.
What brand names are available for propafenone?
Rythmol, Rythmol SR
Is propafenone available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for propafenone?
What are the side effects of propafenone?
Common side effects of propafenone are:
- Blurred vision
- Unusual taste
- Reduced cardiac conduction
- Nausea and vomiting
Serious side effects of propafenone include:
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Increased rate of cardiac arrest
- Abnormal heart beats
- Aggravation of myasthenia gravis
- Increased rate of death
- Congestive heart failure
Because of its beta blocking activity, propafenone must be used with caution in patients with weak heart muscle (congestive heart failure), slow heart rate, any form of heart electrical conduction block, low blood pressure, or asthma.
The most serious side effect of propafenone is the causing of serious life- threatening irregular heart rhythms (ventricular arrhythmias or pro-arrhythmia) or heart block. It is for this reason that propafenone is started and doses increased while patients are hospitalized in a monitored setting.
What is the dosage for propafenone?
- The initial dose is 150 mg every 8 hours of immediate release tablets.
- The dose may be increased at 3 to 4 day intervals to 225 mg every 8 hours and, if needed, to 300 mg every 8 hours.
- When using extended release capsules the initial dose is 225 mg every 12 hours. The dose may be increased at minimum 5 day intervals to 325 every 12 hours and if necessary to 425 mg every 12 hours.
- The dose should be reduced in patients with liver failure.
- Propafenone is given with or without food.
Which drugs or supplements interact with propafenone?
- Quinidine (Quinidine Gluconate, Quinidine Sulfate) and fluoxetine (Prozac) inhibit the metabolism of propafenone. Therefore, they should not be combined with propafenone.
- Propafenone increases the levels of digoxin (Lanoxin), warfarin (Coumadin), and beta blockers (for example, metoprolol [Lopressor, Toprol XL], propranolol [Inderal, InnoPran]). The dose of the interacting drugs may need to be reduced.
- Rifampin increases the metabolism of propafenone, decreasing blood levels of propafenone.
- Orlistat (Xenical) may reduce the absorption of propafenone. Stopping orlistat in patients stabilized on propafenone may result in propafenone toxicity because more propafenone will be absorbed after discontinuation of orlistat.
- Propafenone may alter pacing and sensing thresholds of pacemakers and defibrillators. These devices should be re-programmed and closely monitored. Safety and efficacy in children has not been established.
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Is propafenone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Safety and efficacy in pregnant women has not been established.
- Propafenone is excreted in breast-milk. Mothers should decide whether to stop nursing or discontinue propafenone.
What else should I know about propafenone?
What preparations of propafenone are available?
- Tablets: 150, 225, and 300 mg.
- Capsules (extended Release): 225, 325, and 425 mg
How should I keep propafenone stored?
Tablets should be stored at room temperature 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F) in a tightly closed, light-resistant container.
Propafenone (Rythmol, Rythmol SR) is an anti-arrhythmic agent prescribed for the treatment of life-threatening arrhythmias. Side effects include fatigue, unusual taste, dizziness, blurred vision, and anorexia. Drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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