Propafenone

Brand names of propafenone

  • Apo-Propafenone
  • PMS-Propafenone
  • Rythmol

Propafenone belongs to the class of drugs known as IC anti-arrhythmics and is employed to cure the irregularities of the heart beats as well as the disorders related to heart rhythms. It may be noted that the regular heart rhythm relies on the transfer of electrical impulses by means of the cells in the heart's muscles. In effect, the transfer of these impulses also depends on the channels in the muscles which carry sodium through the periphery of the cells. Propafenone works by obstructing these channels and reworking the transfer of electrical impulses by means of the cells of the heart muscles. The use of this drug inhibits the conduction all over the heart and is, therefore, denoted as an IC anti-arrhythmic drug. In addition, propafenone possesses a number of beta adrenergic receptor blocking attributes and, to some degree, it also has the effects of blocking calcium channel. This drug also works to obstruct the electrical signals by means of accessory channels, for instance as observed in the case of WPW syndrome. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of propafenone in November 1989.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking propafenone

Prior to beginning treatment with propafenone, it is important to inform your physician or pharmacist whether you have allergic reactions to this drug, any of its ingredients or any other type of allergy. Propafenone may possibly enclose several inactive elements that have the aptitude to result in allergies or different other disorders. If you are not sure about the content of this medication, ask your pharmacist for further information. Before you start taking propafenone, it is also important to inform your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you have or ever had breathing problems, for instance, chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema, liver or kidney disorders and/ or myasthenia gravis.

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It is worth mentioning here that use of propafenone may possibly result in a condition that has an effect on the rhythm of the heart (known as QT prolongation), which may sporadically cause serious, but seldom fatal, rapid, abnormal heart beat as well as other symptoms, for instance acute light-headedness and fainting requiring medical care. Provided you are enduring any medical condition or are using any other medication that has the potential of having an effect of the heart rhythm, the perils of the condition QT prolongation are likely to be augmented. Therefore, prior to using propafenone, you need to tell your physician or pharmacist if you are suffering from specific problems related to the heart (such as slow heart beat, heart failure, any earlier instance of heart attack and/ or QT prolongation in the EKG); and/ or a family history of specific heart disorders like sudden cardiac death and/ or QT prolongation in the EKG. In addition, poor intensity of vital minerals like magnesium and potassium may perhaps also augment a patient's chances of developing QT prolongation. This hazard is likely to augment provided you are using specific medications, for instance, any diuretic, also known as 'water pills' or you are suffering from any health condition, including diarrhea, profuse perspiration, or vomiting. It is advisable that you consult your physician regarding the safe and effective use of propafenone.

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Using propafenone may make you feel dizzy. Therefore, it is advisable that you should not undertake any task that requires alertness, such as driving or operating any machine, unless you are certain regarding the effect of the drug on you as well as if you can undertake such activities safely. People taking propafenone should restrict their consumption of alcoholic beverages. Prior to undergoing a surgery, it is important to tell your surgeon or dentist that you are taking propafenone. Pregnant women should use propafenone only when it is absolutely necessary for their condition. Nevertheless, it is essential for pregnant women wanting to use this medication to consult their physician regarding the perils and advantages of using propafenone in such condition. It has been found that propafenone passes onto the breast milk and may possibly harm the nursing new born. Therefore, nursing mothers should consult their physician on the use of this drug before breast-feeding.

Usage

As aforementioned, propafenone belongs to the class of medications called anti-arrhythmic drugs and is employed to cure particular forms of severe, maybe even fatal, cases of abnormal heart beats, for instance, atrial fibrillation and paroxysmal supra-ventricular tachycardia. This drug is also employed to re-establish the regular heart rhythm as well as to sustain a normal, stabilized heart beat. Propafenone acts by obstructing the action of specific electrical conduction in the cells of the heart muscles, which have the aptitude to result in abnormal heart beats. It may be mentioned that curing an abnormal heart beat may lessen the chances of blood clot formation, and, this in turn, may possibly lessen the probabilities of a stroke or heart attack.

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This anti-arrhythmic drug has been approved by the FDA to treat patients enduring severe ventricular arrhythmias, for instance ventricular tachycardia. In addition, propafenone is also useful to restrain the relapse of supra-ventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation when the regular rhythm of the heart has been brought back. This medication is no less useful than any other type I agent in changing atrial fibrillation to regular sinus rhythm. Propafenone is effectual in treating conditions like AV nodal tachycardia, atrial tachycardia as well as bypass tract tachycardias.

How to use propafenone

The class IC anti-arrhythmic drug propafenone is available in both tablet as well as extended release capsule (long-acting capsules) forms and is taken orally. Generally, the tablet is taken thrice every day at intervals of 8 hours, while the extended-release capsule is normally taken twice every day at intervals of 12 hours. This medication can be taken with or without food. Prior to using this drug, you should carefully go through the prescription label and in case you fail to comprehend anything or have any questions, you should clarify the issue with your physician or pharmacist. It is important to take propafenone strictly as directed by your physician. Never take this medication in lesser doses or for a longer period than what has been recommended by your physician.

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Never open or crush the propafenone capsules, as it should be swallowed as a whole. In addition, you should also never divide the capsule into two or more doses, as this will affect the treatment.

Initially, you may start taking propafenone in a hospital in order to enable your physician to examine you watchfully, while your body gets accustomed to this drug. It is likely that your physician will begin your treatment with a low dosage of propafenone and increase the dose gradually. However, the adjustment of the dose will only be done once in five days.

It is worth mentioning here that while propafenone is effective in regulating your abnormal heart beat, this medication does not cure the condition. Even if you being to feel better after taking this drug, you still need to continue taking propafenone for the full course. You should never stop taking propafenone all of a sudden, but consult your physician before discontinuing this medication. In case you stop taking this drug abruptly, there is a possibility of your heart beat becoming irregular once again.

Propafenone should never be shared with other people. People taking this medication should undergo laboratory and/ or medical examinations, for instance EKG, once in a while with a view to keep an eye on their progress and also to ensure whether they have developed any side effects of using propafenone. It is advisable that you talk to your physician for more information on this subject.

How propafenone works

Propafenone works by inhibiting the transfer of nerve signals within the heart and also by lessening the vulnerability of the heart tissues to particular nerve signals that aid in making the heart beat stable. In addition, to a lesser extent, this medication also possesses beta blocking attributes.

Side effects

Serious
  • chest pain
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • malaise
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of lower legs or feet
Common
Less common

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
The use of herbs like St. John's wort, kola, yohimbe and ma huang is likely further aggravate the problems related to heart beat and heart rhythm. When people taking propafenone use ma huang, St. John's wort or kola, they may experience undesirable stimulation of the heart. In addition, patients with abnormal heart rhythms should never take specific herbs, including henbane, belladonna, pheasant's eye extract, lily of the valley, scopolia or powdered extracts of squill.
Foods:
People who are being treated with propafenone should consult their physician regarding their diet as well as restriction of salt intake.
Beverages:
Consumption of caffeine while taking propafenone is not advisable as it may possibly have an adverse affect the heart beat. Therefore, consult your physician regarding caffeine consumption while using this drug.
Alcohol:
People taking propafenone ought to restrict their alcohol consumption, for alcohol has the aptitude to raise the blood pressure, which, in turn, reduces the effectiveness of this medicine.
Tobacco smoking:
Smoking tobacco while being treated with propafenone may cause irritation in the heart, while lessening the efficiency of this drug.
Occurrence of unrelated illness:
The action of propafenone may be negatively affected due to certain health conditions, including diarrhea, vomiting and/ or dehydration. If people taking propafenone develop any of these conditions, they ought to bring it to the notice of their physician immediately.

Discontinuation

Propafenone should not be discontinued all of a sudden after using it for a prolonged period. Prior to discontinuing this medication, you need to consult your physician regarding the gradual lessening of its dosage.

Storage instructions

Propafenone should always be stored at room temperature, preferably between 20°C and 25°C in a place that is away from light and dampness. Never keep this drug in your bathroom, which is generally damp most of the time. In addition, all medications need to be stored in a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets. When you do not require a medicine any longer or the expiry date of the medicine has lapsed, never dispose it by flushing it in the toilet or pouring it into a drain, unless you have been advised otherwise. It is important that all unwanted medications should be discarded in a proper and safe manner. It is advisable that you talk to your pharmacist or any neighbourhood waste disposal company for more details on this topic.

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