Though this medication often gives great benefits to people with irregular heartbeat, it may rarely cause a serious new irregular heartbeat. Therefore, when starting treatment with this drug, your doctor may recommend that you stay in the hospital for proper monitoring. Flecainide should not be used to treat a certain type of irregular heartbeat (persistent atrial fibrillation/flutter). Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking this medication for your condition.Who should not take flecainide?
This medication is used to treat certain types of serious (possibly fatal) irregular heartbeat (such as persistent ventricular tachycardia and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia). It is used to restore normal heart rhythm and maintain a regular, steady heartbeat. It is also used to prevent certain types of irregular heartbeat from returning (such as atrial fibrillation). Flecainide is known as an anti-arrhythmic drug. It works by blocking certain electrical signals in the heart that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Treating an irregular heartbeat can decrease the risk for blood clots, and this effect can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Older adults should discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with their doctor or pharmacist, as well as other effective and possibly safer treatments.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually twice daily or as directed by your doctor.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
See also Warning section.
Dizziness, vision problems (such as blurred vision, problems focusing, seeing spots), shortness of breath, headache, nausea, shaking, tiredness, or weakness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: new or worsening symptoms of heart failure (such as ankle/leg swelling, increased tiredness, increased shortness of breath when lying down).
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: faster/more irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Before taking flecainide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, liver problems, other heart problems (such as previous heart attack, heart pacemaker).
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Flecainide may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using flecainide, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using flecainide safely.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially QT prolongation (see above).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
Many drugs besides flecainide may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including amiodarone, dofetilide, pimozide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, and macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), among others. (See also Precautions section.)
Other medications can affect the removal of flecainide from your body, which may affect how flecainide works. Examples include cimetidine, fluconazole, certain HIV protease inhibitors (such as ritonavir, tipranavir), anti-seizure drugs (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital), among others.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe nausea/vomiting, seizures, very slow heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as EKG) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised December 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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