|Type of medicine||Anti-arrhythmic|
|Used for||Irregular beating of the heart|
Propafenone is used to treat arrhythmias within the heart. An arrhythmia is an irregularity in your heartbeat which causes your heart to skip a beat, beat irregularly, beat very fast or very slow.
Propafenone works by correcting irregular heartbeats to a normal rhythm and by slowing an overactive heart.
Before taking propafenone
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking propafenone it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have heart failure or any heart problems other than your abnormal heart rhythm.
- If you have asthma, other breathing problems, or lung disease.
- If you have low blood pressure.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have a pacemaker fitted.
- If you have been told you have myasthenia gravis (a condition causing muscle weakness).
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
How to take propafenone
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about propafenone, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take propafenone exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usually taken two or three times a day. Your doctor will tell you what the right dose is for you. Your dose will also be on the label of your pack.
- These tablets should be swallowed whole with plenty of water, and should not be crushed or chewed. Take each of your doses with a snack or just after eating a meal.
- Try to take your doses of propafenone at the same times each day. This will help you to remember to take them.
- If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
- If you normally drink grapefruit juice regularly, please let your doctor know about this. This is because a chemical in grapefruit juice may increase the amount of propafenone in your bloodstream.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Your doctor will want to do some tests, before and during this treatment, to check your heart rhythm and blood pressure.
- Propafenone may cause blurred vision and make you feel dizzy or tired. If this happens to you, do not drive or use tools or machines, as these effects may put yourself and others at risk.
- Treatment with propafenone is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking propafenone.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with propafenone.
Can propafenone cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common propafenone side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy, weak or tired, blurred vision||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Palpitations (a feeling that your heart is beating quickly), chest pain||Let your doctor know about this|
|Feeling sick or being sick, abdominal pain||Eat simple meals - avoid rich or spicy food. Make sure you take your doses after you have eaten some food|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Dry mouth, or a bitter taste in your mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water each day|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Feeling anxious, difficulties sleeping, feeling breathless||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice|
Important: if you experience any of the following rare but possibly serious symptoms, contact your doctor for advice straightaway:
- An itchy red skin rash, or any difficulties breathing. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
- Any yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes. These could be signs of a liver problem.
- If you start to bruise easily, or if you develop a fever and feel generally unwell. These may be signs of a blood disorder.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to propafenone, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store propafenone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Arythmol® 150 mg and 300 mg Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Arythmol® 150 mg and 300 mg Tablets, Abbott Healthcare Products Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2012.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 13/06/2012||Document ID: 1479 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.