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Drug Guide    E   Eclamide

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This medication is used to treat a certain serious (possibly life-threatening), persistent, abnormally fast heartbeat (sustained ventricular tachycardia). Procainamide belongs to a class of drugs known as antidysrhythmics. It works by blocking the abnormal electrical activity of an abnormal heartbeat so that the normal heartbeat can occur.

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OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions

This medication is used to treat a certain serious (possibly life-threatening), persistent, abnormally fast heartbeat (sustained ventricular tachycardia). Procainamide belongs to a class of drugs known as antidysrhythmics. It works by blocking the abnormal electrical activity of an abnormal heartbeat so that the normal heartbeat can occur.
  • Do not share this medication with others.Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., EKG, procainamide blood levels, blood counts, liver/kidney blood tests, blood antinuclear antibody) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Consult your doctor for more details.

  • Store at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture.
  • Do not store in the bathroom.
  • Keep all medicines away from children and pets.

  • Symptoms of overdose may include: sudden fast/pounding heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion, nausea, vomiting.

How To Use
  • This medication may be started at a low dose in the hospital so that your doctor can determine the best dose, increase it gradually as needed, and monitor you closely for side effects.Different kinds of procainamide taken by mouth should be taken in different ways.
  • Each time you get a refill, make sure you have received the correct kind of procainamide.
  • Do not change kinds of procainamide unless directed by your doctor.
  • Doing so could increase side effects or decrease the effectiveness of the medication.Take this medication by mouth exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • You may take it with or without food, but it is important to choose one way and take it consistently, either with or without food.
  • Depending on the kind of procainamide you are prescribed, take it 2-4 times daily as directed.If you are taking the extended-release tablet, do not crush, split, or chew it.
  • Doing so may increase side effects or decrease its effectiveness.
  • You may see the empty extended-release tablet shell in your stool.
  • This is harmless.Dosage is based on your medical condition, kidney/liver function, how fast your body gets rid of procainamide, other medications you may be taking, and response to therapy.This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level.
  • Therefore, take this drug at evenly spaced intervals.
  • To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
  • It is very important to avoid running out of this medication.
  • Therefore, always order your refills several days early.Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed or stop taking it (or other heart medicines) even for a short time unless directed to do so by your doctor.
  • Skipping or changing your dose without approval from your doctor may cause your abnormal heartbeat to return.Contact your doctor immediately and seek emergency medical attention (e.g., call -911, have someone else drive you to a hospital emergency room) if your condition persists or worsens.

Side Effects
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and bitter taste in the mouth may occur.
  • If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication for a longer time may develop serious side effects, but with frequent visits to your doctor, this risk can be minimized.
  • (See Warning section.) Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: symptoms of liver problems (e.g., persistent nausea, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin), dizziness, fainting, short bursts of pounding heartbeat, persistent/fast heartbeat, chest pain, worsening symptoms of heart failure (e.g., ankle/leg swelling, increased tiredness, increased shortness of breath when lying down).Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: seizures, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, confusion, unusual thoughts/behavior, hallucinations), muscle pain/weakness, dry mouth/eyes.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare.
  • However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Before taking procainamide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to local anesthetics (e.g., procaine); or if you have any other allergies.This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions.
  • Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: certain heart problems (second- or third-degree atrioventricular block or bundle branch block unless you have a heart pacemaker), a certain immune problem (lupus), certain irregular heartbeats (torsade de pointes, congenital long QT syndrome), abnormal blood minerals (high or low potassium).Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart failure, first-degree atrioventricular block, new or recent heart attack, worsening chest pain (angina), low blood pressure, kidney problems, liver problems, myasthenia gravis.Contact your doctor immediately if you develop other illnesses/conditions such as prolonged diarrhea, large quantities of diarrhea, heavy sweating, vomiting, prolonged loss of appetite, or prolonged loss of desire to drink water.
  • These conditions could cause you to have serious changes in blood minerals, leading to increased side effects.This drug may rarely make you dizzy or drowsy.
  • Use caution while driving, using machinery, or doing any activity that requires alertness.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages.Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because their bodies may not get rid of procainamide as easily, possibly leading to increased side effects.During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.This medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant.
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Missed Dose
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember.
  • If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule.
  • Do not double the dose to catch up.

Drug Interactions
  • Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them.
  • Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious interactions may occur: ranolazine, disopyramide, ibutilide, propafenone, sertindole, droperidol, ziprasidone, bepridil, dofetilide, cisapride, mizolastine, pimozide, halofantrine.Other drugs besides procainamide and those listed above that may affect the heart rhythm (QTc prolongation in the EKG) include sotalol, flecainide, haloperidol, amitriptyline, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and erythromycin, among others.
  • QTc prolongation can infrequently result in a serious (rarely fatal) irregular heartbeat.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details and for instructions on how you may minimize the risk of this effect.If you are currently using any of these medications listed above, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting procainamide.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: cimetidine, ranitidine, alcohol, trimethoprim, amiodarone, succinylcholine.Certain drugs may interfere with lab blood tests for procainamide (lidocaine, meprobamate, propranolol).
  • Tell laboratory personnel and all your doctors if you are taking these medications.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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