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AMIODARONE - a patient's guide


This is a heart medicine used to treat arrhythmias. This article profiles how it works and when it is recommended.




USE: Anti-arrhythmia

This medicine is used for the treatment of heart arrhythmias (irregularities), in particular when other medicines have been unsuccessful. It is known as a Class III agent, where it has broad anti-arrhythmic activity and works through prolonging the duration of electrical activity in the heart. This effect basically slows down the heart providing normal rhythm back to your heartbeat.

Amiodarone has a long half life, therefore it is usually given once daily. It is also often initiated in hospital or under specialist supervision partly due to its complexity.


  • Thyroid disease
  • Liver and kidney impairment
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Severe heart failure
  • Elderly

Side effects:

Metallic taste, liver and lung problems (needs monitoring), hyper/hypothyroidism, neuropathy, corneal (eye) deposits, skin discolouration (bluish), photosensitivity have been reported. Other cases reported include nausea, skin rash, vomiting and fatigue.


Digoxin, warfarin, beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers should be used with caution in combination with amiodarone.

Patient information:

  • Follow the instructions on the label of this medicine
  • Do not stop taking this medicine unless directed by your doctor/specialist
  • Avoid excess exposure to direct sunlight and sun lamps (use broad-spectrum +15 sunblock)
  • You may require liver and thyroid function tests (approx. every 6 months) so discuss with doctor/specialist
  • Contact your doctor/ specialist or seek medical attention if side effects are severe or ongoing.

See also:

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