Flecainide is used to treat certain types of serious (possibly fatal) irregular heartbeat (such as sustained ventricular tachycardia and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia). Flecainide 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 Flecainide with their doctor or pharmacist, as well as other effective and possibly safer treatments.
Though Flecainide often gives great benefits to people with irregular heartbeat, it may rarely cause a serious new irregular heartbeat. When starting treatment with Flecainide, 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 Flecainide for your condition.
How to Use Flecainide
Take Flecainide by mouth with or without food, usually twice daily or as directed by your doctor. The Dosage of Flecainide is based on your age, medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Use Flecainide 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.
Before taking flecainide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. Flecainide may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using Flecainide, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history,kidney problems, liver problems, other heart problems (such as previous heart attack, heart pacemaker). Flecainide may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). 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,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 Flecainide, especially QT prolongation (see above). During pregnancy, Flecainide should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Flecainide passes into breast milk. However, Flecainide is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
If you miss a dose of Flecainide, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. 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. Other medications can affect the removal of flecainide from your body, which may affect how flecainide works. Examples include asunaprevir, cimetidine, fluconazole, certain HIV protease inhibitors (such as tipranavir), ritonavir, anti-seizure drugs (such as phenytoin, phenobarbital), among others.
Flecainide Side Effects
Dizziness, vision problems (such as blurred vision, problems focusing, seeing spots), headache, nausea, shaking, tiredness, or weakness may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that Flecainide has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using Flecainide do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects,new or worsening symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain). Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects,faster/more irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting. A very serious allergic reaction to Flecainide is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction,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. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard Flecainide when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
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