Amiodarone: Uses & Side Effects

Amiodarone affects the rhythm of your heartbeats. It is used to help keep the heart beating normally in people with life-threatening heart rhythm disorders of the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart that allow blood to flow out of the heart).

Amiodarone is used to treat ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.

Amiodarone is for use only in treating life-threatening heart rhythm disorders.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use amiodarone if you have:

  • a serious heart condition called “AV block” (2nd or 3rd degree), unless you have a pacemaker;
  • a history of slow heartbeats that have caused you to faint; or
  • if your heart cannot pump blood properly.

Amiodarone can cause dangerous side effects on your heart, liver, lungs, or thyroid.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • asthma or another lung disorder;
  • liver disease;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • vision problems;
  • high or low blood pressure;
  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood); or
  • if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator implanted in your chest.

Taking amiodarone during pregnancy may harm an unborn baby or cause thyroid problems or abnormal heartbeats in the baby after it is born. Amiodarone may also affect the child’s growth or development (speech, movement, academic skills) later in life. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you become pregnant.

You should not breast-feed while taking this medicine, and for several months after stopping. Amiodarone takes a long time to clear from your body. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby during this time.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to amiodarone: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Amiodarone takes a long time to completely clear from your body. You may continue to have side effects from this medicine after you stop using it.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these side effects, even if they occur up to several months after you stop using this medicine:

  • wheezing, cough, chest pain, cough with bloody mucus, fever;
  • a new or a worsening irregular heartbeat pattern (fast, slow, or pounding heartbeats);
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • blurred vision, seeing halos around lights (your eyes may be more sensitive to light);
  • liver problems – nausea, vomiting, stomach pain (upper right side), tiredness, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • nerve problems – loss of coordination, muscle weakness, uncontrolled muscle movement, or a prickly feeling in your hands or lower legs;
  • signs of overactive thyroid – weight loss, thinning hair, feeling hot, increased sweating, tremors, feeling nervous or irritable, irregular menstrual periods, swelling in your neck (goiter); or
  • signs of underactive thyroid – weight gain, tiredness, depression, trouble concentrating, feeling cold.

Common amiodarone side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite; or
  • constipation.


Keyword: Amiodarone.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.