Quinidine

Brand names of quinidine

  • Apo-Quin-G
  • Apo-Quinidine
  • Biquin Durules
  • Cardioquin
  • Cin-Quin
  • Duraquin
  • Natisedine
  • Novo-Quinidin
  • Quinaglute Dura-Tabs
  • Quinate
  • Quinatime
  • Quinidex Extentabs
  • Quinobarb [CD]
  • Quinora
  • Quin-Release
  • SK-Quinidine Sulfate

Quinidine belongs to the class of drugs known as antiarrhythmic medications and it is prescribed to rectify the problems related to the rhythm of the heart. Disopyramide and procainamide are two other medications belonging to this class of drugs. In effect, this category of antiarrhythmics is particularly known as 'Class I antiarrhythmics' and they are different from the common antiarrhythmic medications, as they work by obstructing the sodium channels in the cell membranes (walls). It may be noted that sodium channel forms an element of the membrane that permits sodium to enter the cells, thereby causing the cells (for instance, the nerve and muscle cells) to become keyed up. In the case of the muscle cells, this action results in the tightening of the muscles. Hence, the passage of sodium through these conduits is important to kindle the heart's muscle cells to be capable of contracting. What is special about the Class I antiarrhythmics is that these drugs lessen the electrical invigoration of the muscle cells.

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In effect, the capability of quinidine to impede arrhythmias as well as put off their return depends on three actions of this medication. Quinidine lessens the pace of electrical current traveling past the heart muscle which results in the contraction of the heart muscles. In addition, this medication extends the time during which the muscle cells of the heart are able to be stimulated electrically to contract. Quinidine also lengthens the time of recovery following the contraction of the heart muscles and during this period it is not possible to stimulate the heart muscle cells to contract again.

The antiarrhythmic drug quinidine also thwarts the vagus nerve's normal actions on the heart, thereby resulting in the augmentation of the pace of the heartbeat. This medication also lessens the force with which the heart muscle cells contract and, hence has the potential to weaken the pumping effectiveness of deteriorating heart muscles, as is the case in congestive heart failure. Besides, quinidine works to obstruct alpha-receptors on the cells of the muscles surrounding arteries and this result in the unwinding of the muscle cells, lowering blood pressure and it may also lead to extremely low pressure when this drug is used in combination with other medications that also work to loosen up these muscle cells. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale and use of quinidine in July 1950.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking quinidine

Before you start taking quinidine, it is important to tell your physician and/ or pharmacist whether you have allergic reactions to this drug, any of its ingredients or any other medication.

In addition tell your physician as well as your pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, particularly if you are using any anticoagulant drug ('blood thinner'), for instance, warfarin (Coumadin); codeine products; antidepressants; diltiazem (Dilacor, Cardizem, Tiazac); cimetidine (Tagament); medicines for seizures; any medicine to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) or heart diseases; medicines for inducing sleep or treating infections; as well as also vitamins and dietary supplements.

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Prior to undergoing treatment with quinidine, inform your physician about your entire medical history, especially if you are suffering from or have ever suffered from a heart, kidney or liver disease; myasthenia gravis; and/ or weakness of the muscles.

Women taking this medication or intending to take it shortly should tell their physician if they are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or are breast feeding. In the event of any woman becoming pregnant while undergoing treatment with quinidine, she ought to contact her physician right away for advice on what she should do next.

When you require undergoing any surgery, including any type of dental operation, tell your surgeon/ dentist beforehand that you are using quinidine.

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People taking quinidine ought to be aware of the fact that this medication may make you feel lightheaded. Therefore, it is advisable that you do not undertake any activity that requires alertness, such as driving or operating a machine, till you are certain about the effects of this drug on your body and also unless you are confident that you may carry out the activities safely.

Before using quinidine for the first time, consults your physician regarding the use of cigarettes as well as beverages that contain caffeine. In fact, these products have the potential to augment the tetchiness of the heart and also alter the effects of quinidine.

Usage

The Class I antiarrhythmic drug is prescribed to treat or put off several forms of abnormal heartbeats, for instance, heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation. This medication may be helpful in improving your capability to carry out normal activities considerably by means of lessening the frequency of irregular heartbeats. Nevertheless, it cannot cure heart arrhythmias or completely put an end to all abnormal heartbeats. Quinidine acts by obstructing the signals of irregular heartbeats. You physician may possibly prescribe additional medicines like anti-coagulants or 'blood thinners', such as warfarin prior to as well as during the use of quinidine with the objective to shrivel any blood clots inside the heart and also to retard your pulse. Some physicians also prescribe quinidine to treat malaria.

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How to use quinidine

Quinidine is available in tablet form and is taken orally. If you are taking immediate-acting quinidine, you generally need to take it thrice or four times every day. However, the long-acting or extended-release form of this medication is taken twice or thrice every day. Never pound, cut or chew the extended-release quinidine tables, but swallow them as a whole. Chewing, cutting or pounding these tablets will result in an increase in the amount of the medication in your bloodstream.

Before you take this medication for the first time, you need to spend some time to carefully read the instructions on the prescription label. In case you do not comprehend any instruction or have any question, it is advisable that you seek the help of your physician or pharmacist. Quinidine should be taken strictly according to the directions. Never take this medication in excess or in low dosage or take it more frequently than what your physician has prescribed.

It is worth mentioning here that while quinidine facilitates in regulating your condition, it does not cure the ailment. You should continue taking this medication even if you start feeling better after a few weeks of treatment. Never discontinue quinidine without consulting your physician.

How quinidine works

Quinidine belongs to the group of drugs called Class I antiarrhythmics and it works to inhibit the nerve impulses within the heart and lessens the susceptibility of the heart tissues to specific nerve impulses. In this way, this medication acts to stabilize the heartbeat.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
Less common:
  • mental confusion

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
As certain herbal remedies and minerals may interact with quinidine, they should never be used in combination. For instance, herbs like St. John's wort, yohimbe, kola, and ephedra may result in problems related to the heart rhythm or additive heart rate. Therefore, it is advisable that you avoid these herbs provided you are suffering from any problems related to the heart rhythm. If you use ephedra, St. John's wort or kola while undergoing treatment with quinidine, it may cause undesirable stimulation of the heart. In addition, people having irregular heart rhythms should never take herbs like henbane, belladonna, pheasant's eye extract, scopolia, squill powdered extracts or lily of the valley. As taking quinidine and St. John's wort in combination is likely to augment the sensitivity to the sun, avoid this.
Alcohol:
Consuming alcoholic beverages while taking quinidine may possibly increase this medication's action to lower the blood pressure.
Tobacco smoking:
Smoking tobacco is not advisable while undergoing treatment with quinidine because nicotine has the aptitude to augment the heart's irritability as well as worsen the disorders related to heart rhythm. Therefore, keep away from using any form of tobacco.
Exposure to sun:
People undergoing treatment with quinidine should know that this medication has the aptitude to result in photosensitivity.

Storage instructions

Quinidine should always be kept in the container in which it was made available. Seal the container firmly and keep it in a place that is away from children's reach. Always store this medication at room temperature and in a place free from too much heat and dampness. Never store quinidine in your bathroom. When any medication becomes outdated or is required no more, discard it in a proper and safe manner. If necessary, seek the advice of your pharmacist regarding the safe disposal of such medical products.

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