Studies have shown that some antiarrhythmic drugs may increase the risk of death, especially if you have had a previous heart attack. This information also may apply to disopyramide. Disopyramide usually is used only to treat life-threatening arrhythmias.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Disopyramide is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). It works by making your heart more resistant to abnormal activity.
How should this medicine be used?
Disopyramide comes as a capsule to take by mouth. Immediate-acting disopyramide may be taken 3 to 4 times a day. The long-acting product is usually taken twice a day. Do not cut, crush, or chew extended-release capsules; swallow them whole.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take disopyramide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Disopyramide helps control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take disopyramide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking disopyramide without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking disopyramide,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to disopyramide or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-mycin, others), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), other medications for arrhythmias such as quinidine (Quinidex) or procainamide (Pronestil, Rhythmin), phenytoin (Dilantin), potassium supplements (K-Dur, Klor-Con), propranolol (Inderal), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had congestive heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, urinary retention, or benign prostatic hypertrophy.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking disopyramide, call your doctor.
- talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking disopyramide if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take disopyramide because it is not as safe or effective as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking disopyramide.
- you should know that this medication may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.
- talk to your doctor about the use of cigarettes and caffeine-containing beverages. These products may increase the irritability of your heart and interfere with the action of disopyramide.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Disopyramide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- difficult urination
- dry mouth
- blurred vision
- stomach pain or bloating
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- chest pain
- swelling of the feet or hands
- unusual weight gain
- irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- fever, chills, or sore throat
- skin rash or yellowing of the skin
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will need to determine your response to disopyramide.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
- Norpace® CR