Sotalol can cause irregular heartbeats. For the first three days you take sotalol, you will have to be in a facility where your heart can be monitored. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
Betapace and Betapace AF are used for different types of irregular heartbeats and should not be used interchangeably. Make sure your doctor knows which product you have been taking.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Sotalol is used to treat irregular heartbeats. Sotalol is in a class of medications called antiarrhythmics. It works by acting on the heart muscle to improve the heart's rhythm.
How should this medicine be used?
Sotalol comes as a tablet to take by mouth. Sotalol (Betapace) is usually taken twice a day and sotalol (Betapace AF) is usually taken once or twice a day. Take sotalol consistently, either with food or without food each time. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take sotalol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Sotalol controls your condition but does not cure it. Continue to take sotalol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking sotalol without talking to your doctor. If sotalol is stopped suddenly, it may cause chest pain or heart attack.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking sotalol,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to sotalol or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially medications for migraine headaches, diabetes, asthma, allergies, colds, or pain; other medications for high blood pressure or heart disease; reserpine; and vitamins.
- if you are taking aluminum- or magnesium-containing antacids (Maalox, Mylanta), take them at least 2 hours before or after sotalol.
- in addition to the condition listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart or liver disease; asthma or other lung disease; disease of the blood vessels; severe allergies; diabetes; or an overactive thyroid gland.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking sotalol, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking sotalol.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes containing potassium. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these directions carefully.
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?
Sotalol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- excessive tiredness
- upset stomach
- muscle aches
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath or wheezing
- swelling of the feet and lower legs
- chest pain
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).
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
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.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to sotalol. Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate). Ask your pharmacist or doctor to teach you how to take your pulse. If your pulse is faster or slower than it should be, call your doctor.
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.
- Betapace® AF