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What does it do?

Amiodarone is used to treat and prevent irregular heartbeats.

How should you take it?

Take amiodarone regularly as directed with a glass of water. You can take it with or without food.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Amiodarone can react with many medicines, sometimes with severe results. Remember to tell your pharmacist or doctor you are taking amiodarone before starting any other medicines or treatments, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Symptoms of heart problems including: fluttering, pounding or pain in your chest, feeling your heart skips a beat, dizziness or fainting

Symptoms of liver problems including: yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, pale bowel motions, abdominal pain

Short of breath, persistent dry cough

Changes in vision

Tell your doctor immediately

Feeling tired, unexplained weight gain or loss, feeling hotter or colder than normal (may be a thyroid problem)

Tingling or numbness, loss of co-ordination/walking or handwriting problems, strange or uncontrolled movements

Tell your doctor

Trouble sleeping

Change in skin colour (blue, grey), more sensitive to sunlight (sunburn or rash)

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Nausea, vomiting

Common when you first start but should improve.

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have thyroid, lung or liver problems.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Protect yourself from too much sunlight while taking amiodarone, and for several months after stopping. Always cover up and apply a thick layer of broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF 30) when outside. Do not use sunbeds.
  • Grapefruit, grapefruit juice or sour/Seville oranges may react with amiodarone. Discuss with your pharmacist.
  • You will need tests to check how well your lungs, liver and thyroid are working before you start, and while you are taking amiodarone.
  • Amiodarone stays in your body for a long time. This means some side effects and reactions with other medicines can happen even after you stop taking it. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor for more information.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. November 2020

For more general information about this sheet annd its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed