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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Propafenone belongs to the class of medications known as antiarrhythmics. It is used to treat certain abnormal heart rhythms. It works by slowing down the rate of nerve impulses causing the heart to beat, and by making the heart less likely to respond to abnormal impulses.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each white, round, biconvex, film-coated tablet, with "PF" over "150" on one side and a "G" on the other side, contains propafenone HCl 150 mg.. Nonmedicinal ingredients: sodium croscarmellose, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, colloidal anhydrous silica, sodium lauryl sulphate, and magnesium stearate; coating material: opadry containing hypermellose, titanium dioxide, and macrogol or polyethylene glycol 400.
Each white, round, biconvex, film-coated tablet, with "PF" scoreline "300" on one side and a scoreline on the other side, contains propafenone HCl 300 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: sodium croscarmellose, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, colloidal anhydrous silica, sodium lauryl sulphate, and magnesium stearate; coating material: opadry containing titanium dioxide, polydextrose, hypromellose, tracetin, and macrogol or polyethylene glycol 8,000.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended starting dose of propafenone for adults is 150 mg taken every 8 hours. This dose may be changed by your doctor according to your particular needs. The maximum daily dose is 900 mg per day.
Propafenone should be taken with food.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Propafenone should not be taken by anyone who:
- is allergic to propafenone or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- has a very low heart rate (less than 50 beats per minute)
- has breathing disorders such as asthma
- has cardiogenic shock
- has certain types of heart rhythm disorders not managed with a pacemaker (i.e., sino-atrial, atrioventricular, and intraventricular disorders of impulse conduction and sinus node dysfunction)
- has severe disorders of electrolytes (e.g., potassium) balance
- has severe liver failure
- has severe or uncontrolled congestive heart failure
- has very low blood pressure
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- bitter or metallic taste, or changes in taste
- blurred vision
- dry mouth
- increased sweating
- loss of appetite
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abnormal muscle control
- pain in joints
- shaking or trembling
- signs of decreased heart function (e.g., shortness of breath, swelling of feet or lower legs, unusual tiredness or weakness)
- signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools)
- stomach pain or cramps
- swelling of feet or lower legs
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- chest pain
- fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- heart palpitations
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Abnormal heart rhythms: Certain medications used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, including propafenone, may cause new abnormal heart rhythms or worsen existing ones. Your doctor will monitor you closely while you are taking propafenone. If you experience a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fainting; heart palpitations; or dizziness while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Asthma or bronchitis: Propafenone can worsen breathing problems in people with asthma or bronchitis. People with asthma or other breathing disorders should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Propafenone may cause blurred vision, dizziness, and fatigue. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
Heart failure: Propafenone can cause or worsen heart failure and should not be used by people with severe or untreated heart failure. If you have heart failure and are taking this medication, your doctor will monitor you closely during treatment. If you notice shortness of breath; weight gain; or swelling in the hands, feet, or lower legs while taking propafenone, contact your doctor immediately. People with heart conditions should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infection: Propafenone can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). This usually occurs within 4 to 6 weeks of starting this medication. If you experience fever, sore throat, fatigue, weakness, or a general feeling of being unwell while taking propafenone, contact your doctor immediately.
Kidney problems: People with reduced kidney function should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver problems: The liver removes most of this medication from the body. People with reduced liver function may require lower doses of this medication to prevent too much medication from building up and causing unwanted effects. People with reduced liver function or liver disease should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Myasthenia gravis: People with myasthenia gravis should be monitored by their doctor while taking propafenone, as it could worsen this condition. People with myasthenia gravis should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be taken during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking propafenone, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: Seniors may experience more dizziness while taking propafenone and may require lower doses.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between propafenone and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material © 1996-2013 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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