Disopyramide is used to treat irregular heartbeats. Your treatment will be started by a heart specialist.
It may make you feel dizzy or light-headed at first. Other side-effects include dry mouth and blurred sight.
If you also have diabetes, you may need to check your blood sugar more regularly.
|Type of medicine||An anti-arrhythmic medicine|
|Used for||Irregular heartbeats|
|Available as||Capsules and modified-release tablets|
Disopyramide is used to treat arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is an irregularity in your heartbeat, which causes your heart to skip a beat, beat unevenly, or beat very fast or very slowly.
Disopyramide restores your normal heart rhythm by controlling the irregular heartbeats. It can also help stop unusual heartbeats from occurring after a heart attack.
Before taking disopyramide
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 disopyramide it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have heart failure, or any heart problems other than your abnormal heart rhythm.
- If you have an eye condition called glaucoma.
- If you have any problems with your liver, kidneys, or prostate.
- If you have a condition causing muscle weakness called myasthenia gravis.
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have a rare inherited blood condition called porphyria.
- 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 a medicine.
How to take disopyramide
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about disopyramide and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take disopyramide exactly as your doctor has told you to. If you have been supplied with capsules, it is usual to take 300-800 mg divided into several doses over the course of a day (this can mean taking 1-2 capsules, 3-4 times daily). If you have been supplied with tablets, it is usual to take 1-1½ tablets, twice a day. Your doctor will tell you what the right dose is for you, and this will be printed on the label of your pack to remind you.
- Swallow the capsules/tablets with a drink of water. Do not open the capsules, and do not chew or crush the tablets.
- Try to take your doses around the same times of day, as this will help you to remember to take them. You can take disopyramide before or after meals.
- 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.
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 you to have regular tests during this treatment to check your heart rhythm and blood pressure. You will also need to have regular blood tests.
- Treatment with disopyramide is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Continue to take your doses unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as disopyramide may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.
- If you are having an operation or any medical treatment, remember to tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking disopyramide.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take alongside disopyramide.
Can disopyramide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common disopyramide side-effects||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|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sweets|
|Feeling sick, loss of appetite, stomach upset||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy food|
|Difficulties passing urine||Let your doctor know if this becomes a problem|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store disopyramide
- 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
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Rythmodan® 100 mg Capsules; Sanofi, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2013.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Rythmodan Retard®; Sanofi, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2013.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
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.
Dr John Cox