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Amiodarone is the name of a medication used to treat certain heart conditions such as ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF). Essentially it works by toning down the electrical signals of the heart that can sometimes cause an erratic heartbeat. Yet the side effects can be severe, if not deadly for those on the medication. Read more to find out about amiodarone side effects and filing an amiodarone lawsuit.

Amiodarone History

The healing properties of amiodarone were derived from the Khella plant (Ammi visnaga). A physiologist working in Cairo, Egypt observed how it treated angina in people of the region back in the 1940a. It was then brought back to Europe and used to treat angina in the 60’s.

The United States became interested in its later-discovered anti-arrhythmic properties and it became of interest to be put on the pharmaceutical market. In 1985, the Food and Drug Administration approved amiodarone hydrochloride (Cordarone) to treat irregular heartbeats associated with VF and VT. It was only approved as a last line of defense, and not for first-line use.

Concerns Over Amiodarone Use

Cordarone is manufactured by Wyeth (which is a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc.). Around its original release, Cordarone was marketed as a first-line anti-arrhythmia medication. Yet, the FDA never approved that use; and a pharmaceutical company is unable to promote drugs for use other than what has been approved by the FDA.

This led many physicians to believe amiodarone medications were in the safe zone for treating arrhythmia’s. Yet, this was a contradictory move on the drug manufacturers part–and has been a hard habit to shake ever since.

Amiodarone has been sold under the names Cordarone, Pacerone, and Nexterone. It has been sold by various pharmaceutical companies such as:

  • Par Pharmaceutical
  • Taro Pharmaceuticals
  • Zydus Pharmaceuticals
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • Barr Laboratories
  • EON Labs
  • Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories

Amiodarone Side Effects

After over thirty years on the market, the FDA indicated amiodarone should only be used as a last resort. That’s because the medication has been linked to causing lung damage, breathing problems, and more.

Amiodarone is so serious, many patients have to be hospitalized during the first week of treatment to monitor their reaction to the medication. Many doctors like to start their patients with a high dose of amiodarone, then taper the dosage down. If the patient is showing signs of adverse side effects, they will immediately be removed from treatment with amiodarone.

However, one study indicated amiodarone may stay in the system; even after a patient has stopped taking it. The British Pharmaceutical Society said, “excessive accumulation in tissues is suspected as ta possible cause of some of its adverse events.”

Many of amiodarone side effects are listed below. If you suspect you may be suffering from any of the following, it’s important to speak with your health care provider immediately.

  • Death
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of lung tissue)
  • Lung damage
  • Hepatic failure (chronic liver failure)
  • Neurotoxicity (central nervous system damage)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves in the spinal cord)
  • Neonatal hypothyroidism
  • Optic neuritis
  • Blindness
  • Exacerbation of arrhythmias
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis (late-stage scarring of the liver)
  • Kidney failure / Rhabdomyolysis (especially when combined with Simvastatin)

Amiodarone can effect the liver, especially if someone has had previous liver damage or liver disease. Some of the symptoms of liver damage to look out for while taking amiodarone are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dark colored urine
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Itching
  • Pain in the upper right stomach

Amiodarone can actually worsen an irregular heartbeat or cause new arrhythmias. Signs include feeling dizzy, fainting due to a slow heartbeat, low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood, heart or thyroid disease.

Amiodarone Lawsuit

It’s important to monitor your symptoms or any side effects while taking a medication like amiodarone. If you have been injured by this drug, you should speak with a lawyer that has handled similar cases against pharmaceutical companies.

By filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer, you may be able to recover financial losses you endured during the time you were negatively effected by the drug.